Jewish girl not Jewish guy: the family battle

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This topic has 2 voices, contains 1 reply, and was last updated by  Debbie B. 7 years ago.

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July 31, 2010 at 2:08 pm #4936


I need some serious help!

I’m a 31 yr old Israeli Jew who lives in Canada. Most of my life I’ve dated outside the faith and it neer sat well for my family. My brother has turned Modern Orthodox and my widowed Mom flips back and forth between fighting me and not wanting to talk about it to accepting it and wanting me to be happy.

So now I’ve met the man of my dreams! He’s Irish and his family is mainly agnostic. My brother doesn’t know and my mom is displeased.
He’s so incredible, I think this could be it. But I don’t want to lose my family.
How do I win them over???

August 1, 2010 at 4:36 am #4940

Debbie B.

It all depends on the details of your situation:

– How religious/secular was your family when you were growing up?
– How religious is your mother?
– How religious are you?
– Would marrying this non-Jewish man change your observance or attitudes toward Judaism?
– If you plan to have children, how will they be raised? They will be automatically be halachically Jewish by traditional definitions, but would you raise and educate them as Jews?

Sometimes lack of acceptance of a partner can really be a way that a relative expresses disapproval about something that is not about that person per se. For instance, your marrying a non-Jew could be interpreted by your MO brother as meaning that you don’t care about or are even scornful of Judaism, and could reflect how he perceives your attitudes towards his new religious affiliation. Sometimes the Jewish partner is frustrated because the other people don’t seem to even notice what a wonderful person the non-Jewish partner is, but it’s not who s/he is but what the other person thinks s/he represents with respect to Judaism.

I think the main reason parents get upset by the prospect of a son or daughter’s intermarriage is that it is not what they have always dreamed about for their children. For Jews, the blessings even for a bris or a baby naming mention the chuppa. I understand this more now as a parent of teenagers.

By the way, the last few bullet points are ones that you should think about for yourself, and then if your relationship becomes serious, to discuss with your boyfriend before marriage anyway.

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