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Jun 11 2014

Up Close: Adina Kay-Gross & Family

By at 9:50 am

adina-kay-gross-up-close

In what ways do you think having extended interfaith family has enriched your lives?

I’ve written about this a bunch before, and my feelings haven’t changed. My mother, who converted to Judaism, honored her non-Jewish mother by making sure she was never alone to celebrate her holidays. This meant she and my dad often packed up our family of five and shuttled us to the bowels of Italian Brooklyn for Christmas Eve and Easter dinner. Sometimes when holidays overlapped, we’d bring our matzah or our menorahs with us. My parents worked hard to make sure we knew who we were, and that meant not just knowing that we were Jews, but also knowing that we were, as the Talmud teaches, “the compassionate children of compassionate parents.” They were confident in their Judaism and instilled that confidence in us. There is no such thing as mutually exclusive in this situation; you can be religiously committed and not alienate family members who have made different choices. Sure, it’s hard work and it’s often confusing and complicated, but if you want to make it work, you can. In my family, love came before difference.

Is there a specific day/experience you can remember where this family set-up felt particularly complicated?   Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2014

When One Daughter is Jewish and the Other is Not

By at 10:40 am

one-Jewish-child

A lot has changed since I had my first child: I got divorced, converted to Judaism, and most recently, got re-married. My wife is also Jewish. We have a daughter together who is Jewish, and she is being raised Jewish. So far, so good, right?

But this is my second marriage and I have a fabulous daughter from my first marriage. While I do share custody with my ex-husband, my first daughter lives with me the majority of the time. And she is not Jewish.

When converting, I did a lot of reading about the commitment as a Jewish parent of raising your children to be observant Jews. You teach them or you have them taught at religious school about the history, the culture, and the religion of Judaism. Read the rest of this entry →

Up Close: Ben & Meida Tolsky

By at 9:57 am

ben-tolsky

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

We met at the first reading for a play that never actually happened. I was teaching English abroad in China, and for some reason I decided I should try to be in a play. Meida was helping to write and direct it.

2. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between? Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 9 2014

Up Close: Courtney Naliboff & William Trevaskis

By at 9:55 am

courtney-wedding

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

Bill and I met when our bands were booked on the same bill at a rock club in Boston. I thought “Who’s that cute Chinese kid?” (he’s half-Guatemalan) and he thought I was a blonde (it was a wig). We realized that we had a lot in common beyond a love of glam rock, including a shared love of music theory and analysis. We became friends first and then finally, the stars aligned and we got together!

2. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between? Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 6 2014

Up Close: Stacie & Andrew Garnett-Cook

By at 9:45 am

Stacey-andrew

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

We met online. My profile said “Chocoholic seeks NPR addict”–and that’s who I found!

2. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between? Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 3 2014

Up Close: Melissa & Marc Cohen

By at 10:10 am

melissa-cohen

1. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between?

Our children are being raised as Jews. When we first got married, I knew nothing about Judaism and was nervous about what that would mean for our family. My husband is Jewish, and his Judaism is central to how he defines himself. I knew that it would be a part of our children’s identities as well. I read everything I could get my hands on about Judaism.

The more I learned about Judaism, the more comfortable I was and the more I wanted to be a part of it. I don’t know that I was ready to convert when we got married, but by the time I did (five years later) it felt utterly anti-climatic. It felt like getting married, a confirmation of what we already were. We were reading PJ Library books before bed, and baking challah every Friday afternoon. We were members of a synagogue (my daughter was attending the same religious school that my stepdaughters attended), and actively living a Jewish life. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2014

Up Close: Lara Robby & Shawn Gaiero

By at 2:15 pm

lara-robby-upclose

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

East Village, Avenue C. A Cuban Club, dancing, and a mutual friend.

2. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between? Read the rest of this entry →

May 28 2014

Up Close: Victoria & Dmitri

By at 11:04 am

huang-upclose-3

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

We were casual friends in high school. When we met up again after college, we realized that we had a lot more in common than we previously thought. Twelve years and three states later, we returned to our home state and started our own little family, near our parents.

2. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between? Read the rest of this entry →

May 23 2014

Up Close: Jessica & Derek

By at 10:15 am

jessica-glassberg

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

We met on Myspace… Yes, Myspace.

The man who would be my husband emailed me. Read the rest of this entry →

May 21 2014

Up Close: Maria & Steve Broutt

By at 10:14 am

maria-steve-3

1. Are you raising your kid(s) with one religion, both religions, or somewhere in between?

We are raising our children Jewish, and they will be attending a Jewish preschool in the fall. Growing up in a Catholic school and [with a] strict Catholic upbringing, religion was a big part of my life. What I took from it was a love for religious history and spirituality. Even though I have converted and my children are Jewish I believe in teaching my children about Christian holidays, and why we celebrate them. Right now they celebrate both Christian holidays with my family and Jewish holidays with my husband’s family. They are still to0 young to ask questions but when the time comes I hope that I can teach my children to embrace both sides of their parents’ history and traditions. I never want my children to feel like they need to choose sides. It’s important to both of us that they become good people first, and Jewish second.

2. How do you feel about your family being labelled “interfaith”? Read the rest of this entry →

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