Until Easter of this year, I never knew how many religious friends I had. Like every holiday, my personal facebook feed was flooded with pictures, happy holiday statuses, and plans for the day. I love that people share so much of their lives online like that. I loved seeing pictures of kids dressed up in their Easter best, hunting eggs and opening baskets.
But on Easter this year, there were a lot more religious statuses than I ever noticed before. I saw “He is Risen” everywhere. I’m all for people showing what they believe, but you won’t see any of those things from me.
Because I’m Jewish, and Chris is Catholic. Abbie is both. We’re an Interfaith family.
This confuses some people. People are generally used to categorizing your family in one religion, and we don’t fit that mold. We never will. I have no plans to convert, and neither does Chris. Abbie will learn about both our religions as she grows and will be free to choose what she believes once she’s old enough.
For me, this is normal – it’s actually the way I grew up as well. My mom is Jewish, but when she married my dad, they chose to bring up my sisters and I with both their traditions. In addition, my Nana lived with us for a while and had many visits from the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and my cousin now is one). So I learned a lot of different things.
I learned to light the Hannukah candles in the winter. I learned to love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life and collect Hallmark ornaments. I learned about God. I learned about Jesus. I learned about the plagues and Passover. I learned about Easter and Lent. I learned about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and why we fast. I read bible stories with my Nana. I felt the ink on my grandfather’s arm from Auschwitz. I learned to love kugel, bagels, lox, cream cheese, and matzoh balls. I rolled and cut out Christmas cookies.
And one day, as if it had always been there, I knew what I believed. I had the freedom of choice, and because of that I have a strong emotional connection to my faith. I’m not sure I would have had I just grown up doing whatever my parents did. Obviously, there’s no way I’ll ever know otherwise, but that’s a post for another day.
So we’re an interfaith family. It’s different, yes, but it works for us. Chris has taken Abbie to church, and she was baptized about a month after she was born. We celebrate Jewish traditions with her at home and with friends – Passover last week is just one example. As she grows, she’ll learn why her family is different and special, and that no matter what she chooses when she’s an adult, we’ll love her just the same.
We just want her to be a good, kind person…and isn’t that the goal of it all? It’s what we all want for our children – for them to grow up in a loving home, to have values and morals. To be kind and to be there for others, and to be strong, independent people who think for themselves and make their own choices. She’ll get that from both our religions, so I think she’s a pretty lucky girl.
If any of you have questions about this, I’m happy to answer. I realize it’s a little unconventional to be an interfaith family (even though I grew up with it). I’ll try my best to explain. We’re not overly religious, but it is a part of our lives. If you’re curious, a great resource for Interfaith Families is interfaithfamily.com.