Merging the Jewish with the Non


I was discussing my son’s Brit Milah (Bris, circumcusion) with my spiritual advisor/mentor.  I was recalling my best friend asking about whether my in-laws, my son’s non-Jewish grandfather, aunts and uncles, would be coming to the ceremony.  She asked whether they understood the importance of the ceremony.  The answers to both questions were “no.” 

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if I wanted them to come.  I didn’t think they would understand.  I wondered if they considered it mutilation.  I wondered if it would start an argument. 

My husband was changing our son’s diaper one morning when my father-in-law came to visit.  It was probably the first time my father in-law saw a circumcised boy.  He asked in his Italian accent, “Are you sure they didn’t take off too much?” 

The question seems funny enough, but already it seems obvious: my son doesn’t look normal in his eyes. 

My husband, who isn’t circumcised, defended our son valiantly.  “No Dad, he’s perfect and the circumcision was done properly.” 

2 thoughts on “Merging the Jewish with the Non”

  • In response to this, as the non-Jewish partner in our marriage, my first thought is did you and your husband offer to help them understand?  I know for my family as non Jews they always appreciate our help in understanding certain things, and communication is the upmost important thing.  They respect religion and welcome the fact that my husband is Jewish.  I would never assume or wonder how they felt without talking to them openly….

  • Good for your husband! My family (the non-Jewish side) couldn’t attend my son’s brit milah, either, as it was in the middle of the week and my mother and sister were giving finals 300+ miles away. I was sad that my family wouldn’t be there, but I suppose some things can’t be helped. I’ve tried not to think 11 years (he’s almost 2 now; time flies!) into the future and how I’ll feel if they can’t make his bar mitzvah. 🙂

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