Dawn C. Kepler is director of Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples, located in the East Bay area of San Francisco, Calif.
The Journey to Judaism Can Be Lonely
An outreach professional responds to The Lonely Journey of a Puerto Rican Jew, by Franklin Velazquez.
I am touched and moved by Franklin's comments. The Jewish people are blessed by you, Franklin.
At the same time the reality of Franklin's life is that his family began before he found Judaism. I would advise Franklin to back off, to guard against "spiritual arrogance" and to accept that his wife was not prepared for the choice he has made. Now he is faced with the typical scenario of the interfaith family where the children are in danger of being bounced back and forth between religious communities. This is not helpful or healthy for them. Mom and Dad are pulling in different directions.
I like the idea of Franklin owning his own Judaism, supporting his children in their religious/communal life and focusing on being an exemplary Dad and Jew. By modeling Judaism, he will be teaching them Judaism without taking away from their own communal involvement.