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What We Learned From InterfaithFamily.com's 2010 Passover-Easter Survey

March 26, 2010

More interfaith families raising their children Jewish are participating in secular Easter activities in a way that they believe does not compromise their children?s Jewish identity. These trends emerged from the sixth annual Passover/Easter Survey conducted by InterfaithFamily.com.

InterfaithFamily.com has surveyed how interfaith couples raising their children deal with the "Spring dilemma," the confluence of Passover and Easter, annually the past six years. Some observers of intermarriage have cast a skeptical eye on interfaith families raising Jewish children participating in Christmas and Easter activities, arguing that interfaith families can't impart a strong Jewish identity to their children and celebrate Christian holidays. The results of InterfaithFamily.com's surveys suggest that they are doing so.

Interfaith families raising Jewish children who participate in Easter celebrations are giving clear priority to Passover over Easter, both as a family celebration and as a religious holiday:

  • All plan on hosting or attending a seder; less than half will host or attend Easter dinner.
  • Small minorities engage in religious activities like attending religious services (10%) or telling the Easter story (1%).
  • Two thirds see their Easter celebrations as entirely secular
  • A full 90% of the respondents believe that their participation in Easter celebrations does not affect their children's Jewish identity.

 

The great majority (91%) of interfaith families raising Jewish children are comfortable celebrating Passover, while less than half (47%) are comfortable celebrating Easter. However, the only significant trend in this year?s survey compared to last year?s is fewer reporting discomfort with Easter this year (19%) than last year (34%).

"We continue to see normalization of interfaith couples raising Jewish children and participating in Easter," said Edmund Case, CEO of InterfaithFamily.com. "But these families by very large measure see their Easter celebrations as entirely secular in nature and not confusing to their children?s Jewish identity."

Other key findings on interfaith families raising Jewish children include:

 

  • 100% plan on hosting or attending a seder, compared to 41% planning on hosting or attending an Easter dinner.
  • 90% of the respondents participating in Easter celebrations believe it will not affect their children?s Jewish identity.
  • Only 1% plan on telling the Easter story while 75% plan on telling the Passover story.
  • Only 10% plan on attending religious services for Easter.
  • 87% plan on eating matzah and 56% plan on following Passover?s dietary restrictions for most or all eight days of Passover.

 

For more information, read our report What We Learned from the 2010 Passover-Easter Survey (PDF) (also available in Word format)

The unleavened bread eaten during Passover. The spring holiday commemorating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. "Order" in Hebrew. Refers to the traditional course of events, or service, surrounding the Passover and Tu B'Shevat meals.
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InterfaithFamily is the premier resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our new InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative providing coordinated comprehensive offerings in local communities.

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