i just read a great post on offbeat mama about raising children in a two religion household.
there are several differences between this post and our situation.
1. i am a reform, not a conservative, jew.
2. my husband does not feel strongly about infant baptism.
3. we have not made a decision regarding sunday school vs hebrew school. though i do agree with the author of the post when she says that a jewish education is more difficult to come by without active pursuit. travis thinks it is important for sylvie to pursue both avenues of religious education. for us, it's not an either/or situation.
on the other hand, there are a few similarities.
1. we are not going to have a naming ceremony for sylvie. i agree with the author that it's a fairly recent invention that carries little meaning. does it sting a little that our daughter will not be given a hebrew name? absolutely. i told travis early on that the only fair thing to do was to either perform both ceremonies or neither. i told him he could choose. he chose neither. so no baptism and no naming.
2. i know EXACTLY what the author is talking about when she says she feels almost "outnumbered" by the christian members of their family. travis' family is huge, much larger than mine, and it is sometimes difficult to be the only philadelphia jew in a sea of southern baptists. will he feel the same way at my cousin's jewish wedding this december? i'm sure he will to some amount.
3. our religious differences have NEVER been a point of contention for us. we talk about it often and i ask him a ton of questions just to better understand. everything we have agreed to in terms of sylvie's religious education came to be after calm, thoughtful discussion and compromise. there are extended family members on both sides who have made each of us uncomfortable in our religious choices and respective upbringings. when it comes to my husband, however, i have never been made to feel bad for my beliefs. i think he would say the same about me. we both believe in treating people well and with respect. period.
so that's that.
tonight travis and i went on a date to the comedy attic to catch the first night of the annual bloomington comedy festival. we saw 6 comedians each perform a 5 minute set. they were bracketed as 1 vs 2, 3 vs 4, and 5 vs 6. you pick your favorite from each bracket. at the end of the evening the ballots are collected, votes are tallied and 3 comedians move on to the next round. some of the performers were genuinely funny. some (one guy in particular) were downright painful to watch. all-in-all it was a fun night. we're trying to do as many of these spur of the moment adult activities as we can before sylvie arrives. we're enjoying dinner dates, cookouts and midnight movies while we still have the freedom to do so.
summer is getting into full swing around here! most of the university students are gone, the evenings are warmer, and i caught my first lightning bug of the season tonight. heck, it was still light out when we left the comedy club at 9:30! i love summer. it makes this town almost bearable. i want to savor every moment and every sunny day, as i feel like this is truly my last summer of youth. at the same time, i'm hoping it flies by. the end of this summer will bring with it our biggest adventure yet. it's a funny feeling just sitting around, waiting for your life to change forever.
hurry up!s l o w d o w n !
none of us, least of all this little monster, have any idea what's about to hit us.
i've had a few questions on the old formspring relating to religion lately. i thought i would address the issue, how we intend to approach it with our child, and give you some background information. my husband is a devoted christian (a calvinist if we're being technical) and i a jew. out of the two of us, i would say my husband is the more religious.
i was raised completely jewish, though my mother was raised a christian and converted to judaism to marry my father. i went to hebrew school, had a bat mitzvah, and went to synagogue on a pretty regular basis as a child. i love my religion, especially the cultural aspects which accompany it. i have cousins who are orthodox and would not marry a non-jew. whereas, i am a reform jew (the least strict sect), and no one in my immediate family married within the religion. i have some extended family who did not support my choice to marry travis because of this difference, but that is another story, one which i won't delve any deeper into here.
travis was raised in a christian household. i believe most of his extended family is baptist. after a great deal of theological reading, research, and introspection, he decided to live his adult life as a calvinist. his family says grace before every dinner, they go to church on sundays and holidays, and they are steadfast in their beliefs. travis is the first in his family (extended and immediate) to marry outside of the christian faith. he told me once that he never imagined he would marry a jew. he did not mean this in a a bad way, of course. it is just as i never imagined i would choose to share my life with a conservative christian. he chose me, not for what i believe, but who i am.
we plan to raise our child with both religions present in the home. our plan is to educate our child and provide him/her with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions on faith. if our child comes to us, 12 years from now, wanting a bar or bat mitzvah, then great. if he/she comes to us wanting to continue pursuing only the christian faith, then great. as long as my child comes to his/her decision on faith (or a lack thereof, if that happens to be the case) in an informed, rational, and genuine manner, i will be supportive. we can only be honest, respectful, and teach our child all we know, but we cannot choose for them.
our child(ren) will probably end up going to church more often than synagogue, simply because travis goes to church more than i go to temple. however, this is something i would like to change about myself, so we'll see where we end up. i tend to have more of an interest in how judaism impacts the home and the community, as opposed to the organizational aspects of it. one of the fundamentals of the jewish faith that i love is the concept of mitzvah or doing good within the community. i also would like to teach my kid(s) hebrew from an early age. a basic knowledge of hebrew is the difference between feeling comfortable or out of place in synagogue. i want my family to feel at home in both places. besides that, hebrew is a beautiful language and i love that i have a basic knowledge of it.
while these issues and differences in faith are very important, i believe that they do not make or break a marriage. would it be easier if i were a christian or travis were a jew? i'm not going to lie, it probably would. that said, i believe it is a core of shared values, morals, and goals in life that make or break a marriage. for example, if i wanted children and he did not, that would be way more likely to break our union. we are very lucky to want the exact same things out of life. though we have only been married a short time, i feel our union is strong and will only get stronger because of this.
there you have it. that is our plan. if you have any questions, i will do my very best to answer them. if you are raising your child(ren) in or are a product of an interfaith household, i would love to hear from you! you can respond here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. if you would like to ask travis a question, you can leave a comment on his blog.