Same procedure as every year? This year it was the NYT’s turn to address the issue of celebrating the holidays among interfaith families. There are two aspects of that article that I’d like to address. (For notes on the article under a different aspect, please take a look at Phoebe’s blog; she’s got a few interesting ideas on Jewish identity there.)

What I found worrisome about the article were the examples of couples that try to somewhat compete in making their children favour either holiday over the other. To sum my point up: don’t do that to your children. Even if you mean it in a more or less joking manner, don’t put your children in the spot to side against either parent. There’s a reason why in family therapy such dynamics are considered symptomatic of dysfunctional family structures. Children perceive things differently than adults and may not understand your motivations or the ‘humour’ therein enough to feel comfortable. If you’re in an interfaith relationship with children, I suggest that either you celebrate both holidays or none; if you want to give gifts, choose a different, ‘independent’ date (e.g. New Year’s Day) to do so.

And now for something completely different:

Dear editors of newspapers,
Do you really think that (non-violent) disagreements within families are newsworthy? Is there so much journalistic value in establishing that people from different backgrounds may have different views on matters of sentimental value? Has it ever appeared to you that even within homogeneously Jewish families there may be disunity on religious practice and customs?

Ach, there’s conflict potential in any relationship. So, since I wouldn’t want you to run out of topics for future articles concerning mixed couples, I suggest you cover the following matches and their respective shalom bais issues: ornithologist vs Voodoo priest, Esmeralda vs Quasimodo, US Americans vs Canadians, Straight Edge vs BBQ champion, smoker vs non-smoker, Oxford vs Cambridge grad, morning person vs morning grouch, etc. Uninteresting you say? Banal? Guess what…

About the author

froylein

19 Comments

  • “To sum my point up: don’t do that to your children. ”

    -they already did it by getting married.

  • Joe, I know what you’re aiming at, but I’ve also seen unhealthy and unnecessary shifts in family structures and power struggles among homogeneously Jewish families, most often over some kind of nothingness or another.

  • Well I guess all these writers at the NYTs and others seem to consider this to be in another category-just like I do- otherwise they wouldn’t be writing about it constantly.

  • Anyone also notice that all the couples were Jewish/Christian? What about the Hindu/Jewish or Christian/Buddhist or Muslim/Ba’hai couples? It can’t just be Jewy couples that have assimilation angst.

  • To me it sounded partly like show-off, partly like finding excuses for playing power games on one’s partner. Afterall, if you feel comfortable with having intercourse with a X-ian person, a 6-foot tree (!) – more radical denominations ban greenery altogether as it’s of Celtic origin, symbolizing fertility and longevity – shouldn’t scare you. Identity requires awareness, hence education; if you’re aware of what you are and educated about what your religion stands for, you need not, IMHO, fear losing your identity or faith. My foremost concern were the effects those imbalanced family structures may have on children, and such structures may occur regardless of religious adherence. There are way more important holidays in Judaism than Hanukkah [official Jewlicious spelling] and more important holidays in Christianity than Christmas. I do wonder whether those people that fear a loss of religious identity when compromising on both holidays are religious enough to keep all fast days, kosher, if they had a (goyishe) wedding cake etc. My second point was that conflicts appear in any relationship and that to emphasize conflicts among Xian/Jewish relationships puts things out of proportion – particularly if you consider how many different degrees and traditions of religious observance there are within Judaism that alone can and do cater to disagreements.

  • “What other category if I dare ask? ”
    – a category all on its own. The category of turning your back on Judaism.

    “I do wonder whether those people that fear a loss of religious identity when compromising on both holidays are religious enough to keep all fast days, kosher, ”

    -all that is bad but once they decided to take the intermarriage step they have decided that they are willing to give up on Judaism and to bring up children who will be pulled to another religion.

  • Joe, check back with your rabbi on biblical cases of intermarriage before you make such claims… Also, if you’re Ashkenazi, you’ll have a hard time accounting for the non-Jews in your family tree, and no, there are no reliable birth records whatsoever from Medival European Jewry. But again, this post was not about intermarriage but about education issues that I’ve also seen examples of in Chasidishe circles.

  • Maybe you can enlighten me.

    Anyway I see that this is an emotional issue for you so I suppose we should just let you be upset at newspapers for seeing a diffrence between the issues in intermarriage and

    “ornithologist vs Voodoo priest, Esmeralda vs Quasimodo, US Americans vs Canadians, Straight Edge vs BBQ champion, smoker vs non-smoker, Oxford vs Cambridge grad, morning person vs morning grouch”

  • It’s not an emotional issue to me. As I intended to point in the post, it’s a banality that gains way more coverage than similar social structures. And again, this post is not about intermarriage.

  • Title

    […]Every the moment in a when we decide on blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the most recent internet sites that we pick […]

  • Title

    […]check below, are some completely unrelated internet websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  • Title

    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated internet websites to ours, having said that, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  • Title

    […]just beneath, are several entirely not associated internet sites to ours, however, they are surely really worth going over[…]

Leave a Comment