The Kveller blog has recently featured two posts which speak directly to one of the major challenges facing the Jewish community right now—that of intermarriage and mixed families. Alina Adams wrote about her experience being married to a non-Jew, who is not welcome as a member in their Conservative shul, and Mayim Bialik expressed her distaste for the Star of David Christmas-tree topper (which has apparently been a huge seller, according to a Jerusalem Post article by our own Jordana Horn).
I appreciate the perspectives offered by my fellow Kvellers, and I’d like to share my own. My husband’s heritage is entirely Jewish, as far as we know. The majority of my heritage is Jewish, but not all of it. I have ancestors who were Catholic and Protestant, and I grew up in New Mexico, surrounded by Catholic art and culture. However, I am Jewish, my husband and I keep a Jewish home, and we are raising our children as Jews.
We’re not going to have a Christmas tree in our house this year (or any year, as far as I can tell), but we have a small wooden cross covered in silver milagros on our mantle. A framed picture of the Patron Saint of Mantova, Italy, hangs in our upstairs hallway, right around the corner from a floor-to-ceiling bookcase of Judaic literature and references. We have a beautiful collection of Mexican folk art, in honor of el Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, right next to our menorahs and hamsas.
I respect that many of our readers (including Mayim, whom I consider a friend) may be deeply concerned, or perhaps even offended or horrified by the idea of Christian and pagan icons in a Jewish home. I understand that, and I think our divergent views are precisely what make the Jewish community so rich, vibrant, and durable. I also think that disagreeing about, and struggling with, important issues (and even unimportant ones), is an integral part of the Jewish psyche; an acknowledgment of divergent views is even built into the structure of some of our most important writings. Read the rest of this entry →