Dec 18 2012
As Christmas approaches, many Jewish families, especially interfaith families, confront the question: Do you have a tree? Both married to non-Jews, but raising Jewish children, friends Aliza Worthington and Shoshana Martyniak have two very different answers.
Aliza: So, I have a Christmas tree in my house. Here’s why, not that you asked.
I’m married to a man who was raised Catholic. I was raised in a secular Jewish household by Jewish parents who insisted that the most important requirement for marriage was mutual love (lots of it) and mutual respect (lots of that, too). All other considerations were secondary. So, it surprised no one when my sister married a Catholic. When my grandmother learned my sister and her then-husband were going to have a Christmas tree, she said, “But, it won’t be a Jewish household!” Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 17 2012
We Jews have two choices in our approach to the Christmas season: resent it, or embrace it. I for one vote for a big, sloppy embrace. In the name of love thy neighbor and tolerance, I say we hug it out with Christmas already and teach our kids to do the same.
Why? We expect our non-Jewish co-workers, friends, and neighbors to show heaps of interest and concern in all things Jewish. During the High Holy Days we ask our kids’ teachers not to assign big tests after those long days at shul. We offer unsolicited explanations about why Hanukkah is not, despite unfortunate evidence to the contrary, the most important event on our calendar. For the week of Passover we bore everyone we know with the reasons we’re eating matzah and other weird stuff. (Yes, gentile co-worker, that “Kosher for Passover” salad dressing seems over the top to me, too.) Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 30 2011
Making an interfaith family work isn't always easy.
This year, it felt like the “holiday season” started really early. I specifically went to Starbucks on October 31 to get a pumpkin latte, in fear that by the next day they’d have switched to the “holiday drinks” and I was right. November 1 was the unofficial start of Christmas music, Christmas shopping, and Christmas decorations (and by unofficial, I really mean official).
Now, though I enjoy some aspects of the “holiday” (read: Christmas) spirit, I truthfully just ignore most of it and live in my little Jewish-world bubble in November and December.
But the other day I was talking to friends of mine who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah who are trying to navigate how to teach both holidays to their 2-year-old. It’s not always as easy as just buying a tree and lighting a menorah. I was really happy that I could tell them about this program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage coming up THIS SUNDAY to help with the dreaded December dilemma. Not only is the program free, and not only will there be music for the kids at the beginning, but then parents can listen to columnist Julie Wiener from The Jewish Week give insight on how she and her family navigated their interfaith challenges. And the kids have babysitting. WIN-WIN.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place | New York, NY 10280 | 646.437.4202
Sunday, December 4, 11 am.
Don’t miss it. (Again, non-New Yorkers, I’m sorry.)
Sep 28 2011
The closest thing you're going to get to an owner's manual.
Don’t you just wish they came with one? It would be so much easier to be a parent if there were instructions. Like, this kind of a cry at 3 am means your child is tired. Or, this weird thing they’re doing with their mouth means that your child is hungry. If only. I remember in those early days of parenting thinking that it was so crazy that I A) had a kid and B) they sent us home from the hospital as if we knew what to do with her. I mean, eventually we figured it out, but it took a lot of help.
Speaking of help–we know just the place to go (besides Kveller, of course!) If you’re looking for expert advice, the community of other new (and confused) parents, and maybe a bagel and some coffee, look no further than the Museum of Jewish Heritage on the first Sunday of every month this fall. On October 2, they’ll solve your sleep issues. November 6, they’ll focus on greening your home, making everything from food to toys eco-friendly. And on December 4, the December dilemma–how to balance the holiday season in an interfaith home.
And did we mention there’s a safe play area for your kids so you can actually listen to the experts talk? Oh, and bagels. For more details, check out The Museum of Jewish Heritage.
We think this is as close as you’ll come to getting that owner’s manual… so don’t miss it!