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My name is Jane Larkin and Iâ€™m excited to be one of the new writers for InterfaithFamilyâ€™s parenting blog. Iâ€™m the Jewish half of an interfaith couple creating a Jewish home. I live in Dallas, TX with my husband Cameron and eight-year-old son Sammy. Cameron lives Jewishly and is actively involved in raising Sammy within Judaism. But this isnâ€™t my whole story.
As a Jewish young adult, I always assumed I would marry a Jew and I did. But after two years the marriage ended in divorce. The relationship failed because I married for religion, not love. I wanted to prove to my family that I could in-marry, which is not the best criteria for choosing a mate.
The fact that in-marriage was important to my family was ironic since I came from a family in which intermarriage and Jewish continuity had co-existed for generations. My subsequent intermarriage was just following in my familyâ€™s footsteps.
My maternal great-grandmother was not Jewish when she married my great-grandfather in the 1920s. She never converted, but lived her life as a Jew within Conservative Judaism and raised Jewish children â€“ one being my maternal grandmother.
My grandmother was married to the son of an Orthodox cantor by a prominent Conservative rabbi in the 1940s when no denomination recognized patrilineal descent. My grandmotherâ€™s religious lineage was kept secret since it was known that neither she nor her future children would be accepted as Jews. Still, my grandfatherâ€™s Orthodox parents accepted the match recognizing that inclusiveness was a good investment in a Jewish future.
My father also came from an interfaith home. His mother was not Jewish, but she too created a Jewish home and supported Jewish family life. My dad became a
What all of this interfaith family history means is that technically, my family is not Jewish even though we have practiced and identified as Jews for generations. I often wonder how many other Jews have interfaith DNA in their genealogical closet. I suspect that there are others that choose to keep their religious lineage a secret even though families like mine are now recognized as Jewish by the Reform and Reconstructionist movements.
So this is my family’s interfaith and Jewish story. I hope that by sharing it that you will be encouraged to share yours too.