August 15, 2006
When you get married, you don't just gain a partner, you gain a family--whether you like it or not. Handling relatives who don't share your or your partner's faith can be one of the biggest challenges facing interfaith couples. In the new issue of our Web Magazine on Dealing with Non-Jewish Relatives, we explore a variety of perspectives, from Jewish parents of Christian kids to interfaith couples negotiating their families' competing demands for a bris and a baptism.
When an Italian Catholic grandma buys her Jewish granddaughter a Star of David necklace, a whole family learns a lesson about unconditional love and support. In A Grandmother's Gift , Ellen S. Glazer wonders whether she could do the same thing if the religions were reversed.
In Rabbi Diane Cohen's case, the religions are reversed, but not just for her grandchildren, for her children too. When two of her three sons become Christian, Cohen is at a loss. Find out how Cohen copes, in When a Child Converts .
When Leona Junguzza, a former Jehovah's Witness, converts to Judaism, her grown children asked the big question: How can you deny that Jesus is the Messiah? She was ready with an answer, and they've grown to enjoy seders and menorah-lightings at their mom's house, in the life-affirming Homecomings .
"Being interfaith in Israel has a strange dissonance," says Esther Shchory. "Most of the time the fact that I have Christian relatives seems irrelevant to my life... Then we approach the 24th of December and my mother asks when my children will be free to come and decorate the tree." Read more in Are We Still an Interfaith Family?
Many Jews, even non-religious ones, view a bris as an essential component of a newborn boy's introduction to the world. But the families of non-Jewish partners often wonder why anyone would want to celebrate something as painful as circumcision--especially if it means the baby won't be baptized. Julie Wiener dissects the issue in Making the Cut .
Wondering how to celebrate Judaism while being respectful of your non-Jewish relatives? We dip into our Article Archives for a series of tips from outreach expert Karen Kushner. Read her suggestions in Living Well in the Extended Interfaith Family .
For additional resources on dealing with non-Jewish relatives, check out our Marriage and Relationships Resource Page .
What do you think? Join the discussion as we ask, "Do your relatives pressure you or your children to observe another faith?"
Also in This Issue
After converting to Judaism, Pam Waechter became a vital member of the Jewish community, variously serving as Jewish outreach coordinator, temple president and, finally, director of annual giving at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, where she was killed on July 28 by a gunman. Read more about this remarkable woman in Rebecca Spence's obituary .
A new Mother's Circle, a program teaching non-Jewish moms how to make a Jewish home, has sprung up in Connecticut. Read more in Lessons in Jewish Ways .
Wondering what God looks like? Ask a nine-year-old girl. Read about Jim Keen's enlightening conversation with his daughter in Dad, Daughter, Dog and a Talk about God .
Carol Weiss Rubel grew up attending Mass, but also watched her Jewish father mark yarzheit and go to synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. After spending her formative years as a Catholic--and meeting a wonderful Jewish man--she decides to adopt her father's faith. Read more in Rocking the Cradle: A Mid-Life Conversion Story .
A Jewish woman falls in love with a Palestinian man. It sounds like the premise to a bad joke, but Michael Fox says it makes a good movie, in his review of the new Spanish comedy Only Human .
Extra, Extra, Now We're Printable!
We're excited to announce that you can print the entire issue of our Web Magazine by clicking on the "Print entire issue" link on the upper righthand corner of the Web Magazine. To print the new issue, click here .
We'll return on August 29 with our issue on What to Do When You Hear Negative Things about Intermarriage.
Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor
Write for Us!
We're looking for writers on the following topics:
Please share your interfaith family's experiences with the December holidays or Jewish preschools.
If you're interested in writing on either topic, contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at email@example.com .
Connections In Your Area--Featured Event
Bringing Shabbat Home
Hands on Judaism presents "Bringing Shabbat Home," a parent-child craft and learning experience. Bring your preschool-aged children to make Shabbat items to last a lifetime. The program will also include how-to information for creating your own family Shabbat celebration. This is a free event taking place on five different days, but space is limited, so reserve your spot by contacting Debbie Antonoff, at (678) 948-4008, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about this event, click here. To learn more about the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, click here.