Parents, Children and Interfaith Relationships: Listening so they will talk. Talking so they will listen. 4 week class being taught at Gratz College in Elkins Park, PA by IFF/Philadelphia Director Rabbi Robyn Frisch. The class begins Oct. 28 & is being offered both Tuesday afternoons & Tuesday evenings.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
I am a Christian, married to a Jew and am raising our children as Christians (my husband and I agreed on this years ago, when they were born). We help my ILs celebrate their holidays, and generally have a good relationship with them. I know however that they are disappointed not to have Jewish grandchildren. I don’t rub our choices in their faces and I downplay Christian-themed holidays, events, etc.
Today, Christmas Day, my FIL called about something and when I answered the phone, he said (awkwardly), “Happy … um, Holiday to you!” I thanked him, we chatted briefly, and that was that.
Is it really so hard to say “Merry Christmas”? I say “Happy Hannukah” (or whatever) to them; on this day, is it really THAT hard?
I don’t mean to look for conflict, but I am finding that this hurts my feelings.
Christmas is a really charged issue. It is likely very difficult for your in-laws to think about their grandchildren celebrating Christmas. For many Jews, this can feel like an isolating time, when signs of their otherness are all around.
On Jewish holidays your in-laws are likely celebrating with friends and other family, so they can avoid focusing on their feelings of loss about not being able to pass those traditions to the next generation.
If your in-laws are not pushing their religion on your children, you should probably give them a pass on “Merry Christmas” and accept “Happy Holidays” with compassion for their awkward feelings.
I am Jewish, my husband was raised Catholic. My in-laws send me a Christmas card, they do not call to wish me a good Rosh Hashanna, or a Happy Hanukkah for that matter. Sometimes we need to be able to accept the best effort that someone can make.
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