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I'm new to the boards and just wanting to start making some friends and getting to know the place. My husband discovered his Jewish ancestry a few years ago and started attending our local Reformed synagogue, the community is excellent. I usually attend with him, I enjoy the services and the people we know through the community, but I don't have any desire to convert. We are TTC our first child and plan to raise the baby with both DH's Jewish faith and my Pagan one.
I just wanted to reach out and see if anybody else has experience with having a partner of a different faith and how they approached it with their kids. We are planning on giving each of our kids a Hebrew name and a Pagan one (probably just a Scottish or Danish name, since that is my ancestry).
I'm in sort of the same boat - My husband is Jewish and I grew up Catholic. He grew up Conservative but we joined a Reform Shul partly because its close to home and partly because it is more comfortable for me (lot's of mixed families). Since we started thinking about this before our wedding three years ago and have had trouble conceiving since we've had a lot of time to think about this and have decided to raise our child/ren (if we're lucky enough to have one or more) Jewish. Reasons: (1) I was once a pretty serious Catholic but have not practiced for many years; in contrast, my husband has always been involved in the Jewish community and this is very important to him. (2) There is a lot in Judaism (like the importance of learning) and particularly Reform Judaism (equality, women rabbis, tolerance of others) that I admire and that I think would give good lessons to our children. (3) Trying to raise kids with multiple faiths (being both Jewish and Catholic) could be confusing and seems unfair to the kids. We would raise them with an openness to other faiths and cultures and they would be exposed to Christmas, etc., through their grandparents on my side. If they later wanted to convert to Christianity or some other faith that would be relatively easy and with that being the dominant culture it wouldn't be foreign to them.
I have a friend who did just the opposite - she's Jewish and he's Catholic and they are raising the kids Catholic but sort of Catholic "lite" Neither one is very religious but they feel it is useful to have some religious framework to think about learning right from wrong, etc., and to teach tolerance and critical thinking (like you don't have to agree with everything the priest says even if some would say that's not Catholic enough) as you go along. That's more or less how I was raised and it leaves me pretty open to the approach we're planning to take.
Obviously this solution may not work for everyone - but since you attend a Reform synagogue I would suggest asking around there - there are bound to be some other mixed faith couples. There are also some good resources on the web InterfaithFamily.com is one of them. I used to also have a book that discussed pros, cons and challenges of raising children with one faith, two faiths or neither faith but I lost it and can't recall the name of it.
Thanks! I really like the culture at our synagogue. They're actually all quite welcoming and open to my Paganism Thanks for sharing your thinking behind your decision and your friend's. I will give that website a look. Sounds like a great resource.
Hey the reality is that raising the kids jewish is pointless as according to jewish law, the kids arent jewish if mom isnt.....so why make it stressful? keep it simple is my opinion, two religions with different philosophies will only make kids confused and turn them from any type of spirituality ...thats my 5 cents anyways
While I know that the more conservative and orthodox side of judaism doesn't believe a child is a jew if his/her mother isn't, my husband's reformed synagogue believes that a child of any jewish parent is a jew.
Really it's not much of an issue at this point, we have been ttc for over a year now with no luck, so we will cross that bridge if we ever come to it.