Topic: Interfaith?
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  #3  
June 23rd, 2009, 01:17 PM
rebeccabaltimore and more's Avatar
rebeccabaltimore and more rebeccabaltimore and more is offline
(rebeccabaltimore)
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,842
No offense taken! I can answer these questions best if I first tell you about my mother.

I am the product of an interfaith marriage. My mother is a Methodist, though she doesn't practice much. I was raised Jewish, as were my siblings, and we all went through the conversion ceremony before bnai mitzvah. It's not required in reform Judaism (a Jewish father is acceptable), but we knew that to be officially recognized by other denominations, we needed the ceremony.

My mom kept a (reform) Jewish home. Shabbat every week, hosting all the major holidays, making sure we were educated in our religion. Nobody who has met her ever believes me when I tell them she's not Jewish, that's how awesome she is.

So DH has been learning from her how to keep a Jewish home. Also, his stepmother and stepsiblings are Jewish, so for all intents and purposes he grew up in a Jewish home, he just didn't go to Hebrew School. He helps me celebrate shabbot, goes with me to temple, helps me host holidays, etc. He spent an entire year taking weekly classes on Judaism and creating a Jewish home before we got married.

I think if he had been raised Jewish, he might believe in god. But his first stepmother was an evangelical Christian in one of those weird fringe cult-like groups, so he got freaked out by the perversion of faith pretty early.

As far as our children believing in God, he won't be telling them he's an atheist until they start bar mitzvah study. We don't want them confused. We both want to raise independent thinkers. We want our kids to believe in God not because their parents do, but because they have studied Torah and seen the miracle of HaShem in their daily lives. My husband will always be an athiest, but he does believe strongly that belief in god and (healthy) religious observance are good for children. If he was going to fight me on raising the children Jewish, either we wouldn't have gotten married or we would have stuck to raising pugs.

As far as the bris and bar mitzvah goes, he won't make aliyah, but he will learn the blessings, just like my mother did (one of my favorite memories is when she learned the Shechechiyanu for my bat mitzvah). And he celebrates shabbat with me every week, even lighting our son's yartzheit candle when I am too sad.

The success of keeping a Jewish home hinges on the fact that my husband is an active participant in keeping our home Jewish. It's a commitment he made before we got married. I thin he regrets not having had a stable religious background until he was in his early teens. I don't even know how I would have handled it if he weren't this supportive, but he is, so lucky me!
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