In a continuation of its series on religion in black America, NPR interviewed Dara and Oded Pinchas, a black-Jewish couple who are expecting twins. Dara is an African-American Baptist while Oded is an Israeli Jew affiliated with the Secular Humanistic Movement.
They avoided the officiation issue by getting married on a beach in Hawaii. Dara says her family embraced Oded, while for his family, “It’s been a growing process… over time we’ve come to accept each other.” His parents, basing their definition of Jewishness on the widely accepted Israeli standard of Jewish maternity, are concerned that his children won’t be Jewish.
Interestingly, while their physical difference is more pronounced, Dara says that the interfaith issues were more difficult to overcome than the interracial ones. Part of that, she says, has to do with living in New York, where she often sees interracial couples.
When it comes to children, they’re a bit naive. They currently take part in workshops through Interfaith Community, an interfaith group with several chapters around the country that allows couples to fully explore both their religious backgrounds. The problem comes in when children are involved. Dara says, “My responsibility is to expose them to what I believe and Oded feels the same way.” It may not be immediately apparent to them, but this is a recipe for confusion and potentially, religious competition. Children have a hard time understanding one theological system, let alone two. And how will they reconcile Daddy’s atheism with Mom’s belief in God? As if to enforce their naivety on the issue, Oded says, “As long as we have the general agreement that we will embrace both identities, I don’t see any problems.”
I wish Dara and Oded the best of luck, but I think the road ahead will be bumpier than they foresee.
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