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5 Things Every Interfaith Couple Understands Too Well

Portrait of smiling young woman at a cafe table looking at digital tablet with a friend sitting by.

Interfaith marriage can be challenging. There are so many foreign customs to incorporate and conflicting beliefs to reconcile. Sometimes the differences can be so overwhelming that we forget to laugh! Fortunately, most couples find that if they keep it light and remember why they’re doing it, the struggle usually brings them closer together in the end.

1. When your significant other who isn’t Jewish always tries to eat the gefilte fish so as not to offend his/her mother-in-law:

Ever watch your husband or wife bite into a big juicy piece of gefilte fish and then offer your mom a big smile and thumbs up? Well, it’s enough to make you fall in love all over again.

2. When you visit your in-laws over Christmas and you can’t help but enjoy the festivities just a little too much:

Growing up without Christmas, many people of other religions see the holiday as a Pagan celebration used to boost the economy and have an excuse to shut down work so we can all spend time with our loved ones. However, when you experience first-hand what it’s like to be showered with gifts and food and family, it’s hard not to buy into the hype.

3. When you bring your partner who isn’t Jewish to a more religious event than usual and you’re pretty sure they’re looking at you like…

We’ve all been there: You take to your husband or wife to a synagogue that’s a little more religious than you’re used to and suddenly you feel like Woody Allen at Easter dinner in Annie Hall. (In reality, we promise, they’re much more focused on the cheese spread.)

4. When you explain to your partner who isn’t Jewish that you have to buy tickets to services on the High Holidays.

Yes, it’s very weird that you have to pay to go to services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur BUT THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS SO STOP ASKING QUESTIONS AND HELP ME PRINT THE TICKETS.

5. When you explain to your partner who isn’t Jewish that your Jewish mom calls every day and that it’s OK and it’s never going to change.

Sure, Jews don’t have a monopoly on overly-attached, enmeshed moms. But, they do have a majority of them. Some people may be confused as to why their husbands or wives need to answer the phone EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But like the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, it’s not something that’s going to end anytime soon.

This essay was reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily: supporting interfaith families exploring Jewish life. Sign up for their newsletters here.


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