Raising Jewish Kids

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Last week I had the program, How I Decided to Raise My Kids Jewish. Often people who couldn’t make it to a program ask, “What was it like? What did people say?” So let me report back:
This program had a panel of non-Jewish parents – one Lutheran, one Catholic and one rather secular with Buddhist leanings. The two Christians are long time members of Temple Sinai and their children are ages 18 to 25. They were at a place in life to reflect on what had been and how it is turning out.

All the parents wanted their children to have a spiritual life, a communal place of belonging and connection to others. Each said that making the decision was “easy” until they were pressed, “Don’t you have any feelings of loss?” Yes, they said, sure. Things didn’t happen as I planned as a child. My kids won’t be married in a church. They weren’t given communion or christened. Christian holidays meant little to their children.

One of the mothers is herself a pediatrician and said, “Being a parent always involves sacrifices. We want what is best for our children and we put that first.” The others concurred.

When asked do you care whether your children marry Jews the answers were:
“My kids are 5 and 7, I can’t even imagine marriage!”
“No, I just want them to be happy. No matter who they marry their own identity as Jews is firm.”
“Yes! I put 25 years into raising them as Jews and I want them to stick with it!”

Many of the eighteen people who attended stuck around for about 10 to 5 minutes to chat with each other. They shared their own thoughts and asked a few personal questions. They exchanged phone numbers.

Posted in Children
Published on February 14th, 2008