July 25, 2006
Hindu-Jewish relationships may seem like a modern phenomenon, but Hindus and Jews have been living together for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Since perhaps as long ago as 175 B.C.E., a small but vibrant community of Jews known as the Bene Israel have lived in Bombay, spoken Marathi and taken Indian names. They also follow Jewish dietary laws and celebrate Shabbat and the High Holidays. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we explore their American counterparts, Jews and Hindus who fall in love in our new globalized world.
Jason Jay, an American Jew, and Alaka Ray, a Hindu from India, met at a James Bond-themed party and immediately connected. In planning their wedding, they found numerous similarities between Jewish and Hindu ritual. But would their families find as much common ground as their children? We think their story will leave you stirred, not shaken. Read more in Uniting of the Tribes: Our Hindu-Jewish Wedding .
Unlike Alaka Ray, Jana Sikdar comes from a less traditional Hindu-Catholic interfaith family. But that doesn't mean her parents are ecstatic when they learn their daughter is dating a Jewish girl. Read more in Your Daughter Has Something to Tell You...
Reika Dutta didn't marry a Jew but her sister did. Both families celebrated the marriage, but over time subtle stereotypes have creeped into their conversations. "When I spoke with other members of my family, I found they wished Meena had married an Indian man," she says, in Seeds .
For Jews, circumcision is a fundamental way to mark boys as a member of the Jewish community. But for Hindus, circumcision brings up painful memories of sectarian violence when mobs stripped men to identify their religion and murdered--or released--them based on their circumcision status. Find out how one Hindu-Jewish couple tackled this conflict, in Tony Castleman's Walking Seven Circles. And read his mother's response, Coming to Terms with My Son's Choices, by Sallie Teitelbaum Castleman.
Rifka Klein is also the mother of a Jewish man who is in love with a Hindu woman. Their engagement offers a moment for her to reflect on what she's lost--and what she's gained, in My Jewish Son's Engagement to a Hindu Woman: Pluses and Minuses .
One of the more interesting aspects of the Indian-Jewish encounter is that while Jews have never been anything more than a miniscule minority in India, they've long played a prominent role in Bollywood. And this past February, the biggest Jewish star of them all, Nadira, died. Read about her fascinating, groundbreaking life in From Bollywood to the Sands of Jerusalem. And also read our review of Shooting Water , about how the daughter of a divorced Hindu-Jewish couple repaired her relationship with her mother by helping her make a movie.
No less accomplished is Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who has won two Oscars for screenwriting and Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for literature. As a child, she fled Nazi Germany. As an adult, she married an Indian architect and moved to New Delhi. Read more in A Moment with... Ruth Prawer Jhabvala .
Our advice columnist Wendy Weltman Palmer responds to a mother who is concerned that her Hindu daughter-in-law won't raise the children Jewish because she believes the Jewish community won't accept them as Jews, in Dear Wendy: Will My Intermarried Son's Children Be Jewish?
Finally, we dip into our Article Archive to share the story of a Jewish woman whose brother left Judaism--and his family--more than 30 years ago to live on an ashram in India. Read more in Passage to India by Carol Kort.
What do you think? Join the discussion on the question "If a Hindu and a Jew are getting married, should they have a combined ceremony or one Jewish ceremony and one Hindu ceremony?"
We'll be taking an extra week off but returning with our issue on Dealing with Non-Jewish Relatives on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor
Write for Us!
We're looking for writers on the following topic:
Did your interfaith family connect to Judaism through an outreach program? Did one individual make a difference in your or your partner's connection to Judaism?
If you want to write on this topic, please send an email to Ronnie Friedland at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Connections In Your Area--Featured Organization & Event
Faithways Interfaith Network
Faithways Interfaith Network in Philadelphia, PA, is sponsoring a Couples Communication Relationship Seminar for Interfaith Couples. The two-part session takes place Thursday, August 3, and Thursday, August 10, and explores communication and relationship skills as participants discuss interfaith issues. Improve your communication skills, explore your families of origin and gain insight into the skills you need to create a true partnership. The cost is $50.00 per couple for both evenings. Please call Linda Kanner, Coordinator, (215) 540-3737, ext.112, or email LindaK@jfcsphil.org to register.
To learn more about the event, click here. To learn about other Faithways Interfaith Network events and information, click here .