Downton Abbey Portrays Reality of Interfaith RelationshipsBy Gerri Miller
Go inside Season 5 Episode 9 where the story line of Atticus and Rose's interfaith relationship comes to a head.Go To Pop Culture
Our search for the right rabbi is making me nutty. It seems to be this detailed and intricate journey where each turn has its own set of rules to navigate. Each rabbi that I speak to turns our trajectory in a new direction and makes me think about what we are REALLY after. I still haven’t found the answer.
Our lives are so simple, and this seems so complicated. I’m Jewish. Lu is not.
We want a wedding that embraces that Judaism but isn’t ALL about it. I mean, as a couple, we’re not ALL Jew. We want to pay tribute to the fact that there are two of us entering into this commitment. Two people–with two belief systems, and two culturally distinct backgrounds. Yes. We have a Jewish son, who will have Jewish education and eat his mother’s matzah ball soup with a smile on (and, in our family, with chopsticks!)
But does that mean that we can’t show him what Christmas is? Does he have to live in a house that is ONLY Jewish, when his parents aren’t only Jewish?
No. Guys. The answer is no.
Raiden will know the culture of both of his parents. He will grow up experiencing the same feelings that we felt as children. Lula when she found that Easter egg and me when I found that afikomen. How great were those moments!?
So here is my thought process on the whole ordeal. Interfaith marriage puts the couple into a game of statistics. The 2000-01 National Jewish Population Survey says that only 1/3 of intermarried couples will raise Jewish Children. And the truth is that, as Jews, we want to see our faith carried on for generations to come. We want to continue for as long as the human race. So would a Rabbi marry a couple from two faiths with those numbers stacked against them?
So. Ok. It’s a gamble. How would the rabbi who marries us KNOW that we will raise a Jewish family? I mean. She could take our word for it.
Here is the part that is problematic in our situation. We have a child. We have a JEWISH child. So wouldn’t the continuation of Judaism in our family be a given? Wouldn’t that then make our marriage secondary—since we have already fulfilled the pre-requisite for a Jewish future?
We have hope that we will find the right rabbi for us. She is out there and we will work as hard and look as far as we have to, to find her. She is waiting for our little family to tell us that our love for each other is paramount and that we are on the path to one long and happy life together.
Thanks for letting me rant.
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