“Being Jewish means, to some extent, you’re always on the outside looking in. Like you’re not part of the majority culture in a lot of different ways.” -Jennifer Weiner
Sunday morning, Abbie woke us up bright and early – 5:52 am. While not unusual, it is a little bit on the early side for her. I asked her why she was up so early (she was excited about Easter) and told her to go back to bed. She then asked me if the Easter bunny came.
“The Easter Bunny doesn’t come to our house, he goes to Grammy’s house.”
“Because that’s how it is in our family, kiddo. Every family is different.”
She seemed to accept that answer and headed back to bed (for only 10 minutes, but that’s a story for another day), but I haven’t stopped thinking about how she may always remember me saying that, remember that the things her friends have don’t happen the way she might expect. She’ll likely feel a little bit “other” among her peers, as I often did. It’s not always the easiest place to be.
Being Jewish in America is a bit like being an outsider sometimes, in so many ways – and being part of an interfaith family just adds more layers. While I do not doubt our decisions for one moment in exposing our children to both our religions, it has its challenges. So often I feel it would be easier to just pick one – but there’s no way we ever could.
Chris firmly believes in Catholicism and the values he was raised on. I firmly cling to my Jewish roots and all that comfort and wisdom there. While I don’t practice as much as I’d like, being Jewish is a central part of my identity and always will be.
But life happens, and you can’t help who you love – so here we are. A Jew and a Catholic, raising a family together and navigating all the little pieces of holidays and traditions that come with that.
Christmas trees and menorahs in the same room. Easter brunch on the second day of Passover. Prayers in Latin, prayers in Hebrew. Countless sitting and standing and candle lighting.
It isn’t easy, but I know without a doubt that it’s right.