Growing Up With Two Religions

Tablet has a very interesting article with three short videos of teens who grew up with two religions and were involved with The Interfaith Community.  In just three videos a wide range of issues are raised: the impact of having grandparents who are Holocaust survivors; how in some families the subject of religion is “tense” and “controversial,” while in others parents are on the same page and supportive of their young adult children’s choices; the persistence of young adults encountering Jews who tell them they are or are not Jewish based solely on whether their mother is Jewish. Many in the Jewish community are not comfortable with organizations like The Interfaith Community that teach children about both religions; but one of the young adults explains that her family does not mix or homogenize the religions and that she thinks she has a better religious education than friends raised in one religion, while another, who chose to have a Bar Mitzvah, says the program did him a great service and helped him to become who he is. These videos are provocative and worth watching.

The Bachelorette is Open to Raising Children Jewish

Reality TV World has an interview with Ashley and J.P. in which they address the interfaith issue. As happens with so many other couples, Ashley expresses being open to raising their future children Jewish – “whatever makes him happy makes me happy.” And J.P. says his family would be accepting of whoever he brought home.

Q: Ashley, are you excited to learn about the Jewish faith and culture and have you guys talked about your different religions at all and how that might affect your future and potentially raising your kids?

Ashley Hebert: At first, I was nervous that his family wouldn’t be accepting of me, but obviously, that’s not the case. I mean, we talked about it. The truth is, three of my closest friends are Jewish, so I know a lot about it.

I know a lot about the religion and the culture. I think that I’m open to whatever J.P. wants to do. If he wants to raise our kids Jewish, then yeah, whatever you want. I’m very open and I’m not really set in anything, so whatever makes him happy makes me happy.

J.P. Rosenbaum: Religion was never really a factor for me at all. I’m going to love who I’m going to love and I can’t control it. And I know my family’s going to love whoever I love, so it was never an issue and we talk about splitting holidays and Christmases and Passovers with my family and it was never a stumbling block at all.

Q: So, J.P., you were never concerned your family would love Ashley but wish she was Jewish?

J.P. Rosenbaum: Never. Never, ever, ever. My parents – my family is not like that at all. They’re accepting of whomever I would bring home. So, I wasn’t worried about that.

Ashley and J.P. – We’re Here to Help!

J.P. Rosenbaum proposed and Ashley Hebert said yes – and we have the next celebrity interfaith couple! Get ready for intense scrutiny, in People magazine and others, of every development in this relationship. Very few of the couples formed at the end of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette make it to a wedding. But interfaith issues don’t have to add to the difficulties. We’re here to help, with finding a rabbi to officiate or co-officiate, with our Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples, and with all of our wedding resources. Mazel tov!

Non-Jewish mothers and intermarrieds in the news

Sue Fishkoff wrote a great article for JTA, For non-Jewish mothers raising Jewish children, things can get complicated, that has been widely reprinted.

It’s a good story that highlights mothers who are not Jewish who are raising their children Jewish and provides insight into factors that led them to that decision – not being pushed to convert; seeking a sense of community and joining a synagogue where friends belonged; taking a great program like Stepping Stones. It also highlights the importance of developing and articulating inclusive policies at synagogues.

Tablet has a kind of offensive “Trend Alert” by Stephanie Butnick, Intermarried couples inspire kind of offensive colloquialism. Stephanie takes issue with the use of the term “intermarrieds” in a headline in the (Los Angeles) Jewish Journal, Jewish Identity of Intermarrieds in Chicago and their Kids Up, reporting on Chicago’s new Jewish community survey. There’s nothing new – no “trend” here – with the use of the term “intermarrieds” to describe interfaith couples – we prefer the latter term because not all couples are, or can be, married. I don’t understand why Stephanie would want to provide a link to intermarrieds.com as evidence of a trend; I won’t even provide a link to that site because it is part of the fraudulent and deceptive so-called “Messianic Jewish” movement. But at least Stephanie highlights that the Chicago study reports that the “intermarrieds” have been “raising their children with stronger Jewish values, thereby contributing to the Jewish community’s increasing numbers.”