Magin LaSov Gregg lives, writes and teaches in Frederick, Maryland. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Follow her on Twitter @MaginLaSovGregg.
How a Fight Brought Us Closer Together
August 30, 2013
|Magin and Carl celebrating an anniversary|
Which is why I emailed the minister to explain how the sign looked to me through the glare of centuries of Christian-sanctioned violence against Jews. I mentioned the arrogance of a majority appropriating the language of a minority it had once oppressed. I asked him to consider the ethics of using a Hebrew word to entice passersby into a church. This was, after all, a community where many Christians viewed Israel as little more than the missing piece of an eschatological puzzle.
What I never mentioned was that my husband was a minister at the Baptist church next door. And that I’d asked him to intervene. But Carl refused to get involved because he’d had conversations like these dozens of times with colleagues unable to see how their appropriation of Judaism was hurtful. Sadly, these talks rarely went anywhere. Wasn’t it enough that he lit Shabbat candles with me on Friday night, and that he’d married me in my family’s synagogue? It was hard to argue there. So we agreed to focus on what we could change: our home’s unique religious tapestry. Since then, I’ve come to see The Church Sign Crisis as a turning point for us, where we learned an important lesson about negotiating conflict in our marriage. Contrary to recent writing about interfaith marriage, this conflict brought us closer together.
Through no prodding on my part, Carl eventually left Christian ministry for Unitarian Universalism. The congregation he now serves has a good relationship with a Reform synagogue in our community, which will make it easier for us to honor our commitment to raising a Jewish child. Despite our religious differences, our home is like most others. There’s always laundry that needs to be folded. Or a dog that needs to be walked. But an interfaith ketuba (marriage contract) hangs on the dining room wall, between our wedding photos. It’s the sign of our bayit shalom, our house of peace. And it’s the only sign that matters.
Hebrew for "document," a legal document that is both a prenuptial agreement and a certification that a Jewish marriage has taken place. Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation.