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Greetings interfaith families!
As a Catholic who converted to Judaism three and a half years ago, I thought at first that my family and I had put the â€śinterfaithâ€ť part of our religious life behind us. I was raised in an interfaith familyâ€”my mother was Catholic and my father at turns Baptist and Methodistâ€”and letâ€™s just say that religion was hotly debated in my childhood home.
My Jewish husband and I are raising our three childrenâ€”ages 16, 11, and 7â€”as Jews. Iâ€™ve memorized the prayers and figured out how to make latkes. Weâ€™re active participants in our interfaith synagogue. I faithfully sat in on my older daughterâ€™s Hebrew lessons and watched with tears in my eyes as she recited her portion at her bat mitzvah. In fact, her bat mitzvah was what finally spurred me to convert. Religious identity, complete at last.
But Iâ€™m learning that in reality we will always be interfaith. When my mother died a few months ago after a brief, heartbreaking struggle with cancer, I found myself thrust back decades. Memories of my mother and I attending Mass, going to confession, and saying the rosary together came flooding back. It turns out the language of my grief right now isnâ€™t Jewishâ€”the prayers that pour out of me are Hail Marys and Psalm 23. I tried to say Kaddish to myself in her final moments, but couldnâ€™t remember the words. Our family and friends, Jews and Christians alike, came to my motherâ€™s funeral in a beautiful, old Catholic church on a chilly spring day. My youngest asked what the kneeling pads were for, which came as a weird shock to me. Iâ€™m trying to take comfort now in the fact that, as my husband pointed out, my mother is remembered in (at least) three faiths.
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