The experience of the non-Jewish partner in an Interfaith Relationship

When you date or marry a Jew…
Most non-Jewish Americans feel they know a decent amount about Judaism. But when they partner up with a Jew they learn there’s a lot more to it than Tevye and bagels. Not only are there many aspects to Judaism as a whole, but every individual Jew wants to express their Judaism in different ways.  Among non-Jewish partners the responses will range widely too. Some partners are content to sit on the sidelines, eat the food, celebrate the holidays and generally be an observer. Others want to have a role in Jewish activities and home practices. Some non-Jewish spouses become the challah-maker or the Seder leader of the family. Every couple – each Jew and non-Jew – are unique and must determine their family choices themselves. Knowing what others think and do can help to illuminate the options, normalize choices and enhance comfort knowing that there are others like you. Still, you have to do the work to figure out your path as a couple or family.

One husband of a Jewish woman told me that he felt just as much devotion to raising their daughter Jewish as his wife did.

A Jewish wife told me that she does Christmas BIG because they live and breathe Judaism including speaking Hebrew at home.

A couple told me that they are raising their daughter “tit-for-tat”, in other words if he takes her to shul, then she takes her to church. Not a good experience for their child, as they rejected the idea of making decisions.

The husband of an Orthodox woman told me that he had no issues living a frum life. The only challenge was that he is an introvert and she is an extrovert. No matter what religion she was, he said that he would still not want to spend Saturday afternoon visiting families within the eruv.

What choices are you trying to resolve? Does compromise come naturally to you? Do you think about putting the needs of your children first? How do your own parents play into the dynamic of your home?

Join me with Jewish Gateways for a stimulating and reassuring conversation about challenges and choices in an interfaith relationship: Challenges & Questions of the Non-Jewish Partner on September 11.


Basic Judaism Classes Fall 2022
I am compiling the Fall 2022 Introduction to Judaism classes offered around the Bay. Take a look at the list so far. Share it with others.

A few interesting articles
How to ask for the High Holidays off from your boss
Are High Holy Days a Good Time to Introduce my non-JewishBoyfriend to Jewish Services?
9 Jewish Things about Pomegranates


On Repentance: The Thought of Joseph Soloveitchik (Palo Alto)
Challenges & Questions of the Non-Jewish Partner in an Interfaith Relationship (Online)
Kosher­soul: A Con­ver­sa­tion with Michael W. Twit­ty (online)
Matinee Movie: Fiddler on the Roof (San Francisco)
Erev Rosh Hashanah Celebration with Camp Tawonga (Oakland)
Rosh Hashanah Extravaganza (Larkspur)
Rosh Hashanah with Wilderness Torah (Sebastopol)
Jewish Gateways Open High Holiday Services (Berkeley)
Early Kol Nidre Service with Camp Tawonga (Oakland)

On Repentance: The Thought of Joseph Soloveitchik
In anticipation of the Holidays, Rabbi Soloveitchik delivered a series of lectures on the function and process of Teshuvah or repentance. Come study selections of this text as we orient ourselves towards a Yom Kippur that can cleanse, comfort, and change us.

Taught By Rabbi David Booth

Date:   Tuesday, Sept. 6
Time:   10:30am to noon
Place:   In person at Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Avenue, Palo Alto
Free but you must register here


Challenges and Questions of the Non-Jewish Partner in an Interfaith Relationship
If you didn’t grow up a Jew, but you’re now in a relationship with one you discover a wide range of negotiable issues. Do you recognize any of these:
Will we have a Jewish home, and what does that mean?
Will I be an observer or a participant in Judaism in our home?
Will we raise our children as Jews, and again, what does that mean?

What is expected of me in a Jewish celebration, service or lifecycle event?
If I have my own religion how does it fit into our life together?
What if one or both of us is a person of color, an immigrant, LGBTQIA+ or in some other way doesn’t look the way like a stereotypical Jew?

How do we address the unique concerns of our family’s make up?
Join other curious individuals and couples to discuss these questions and hear options for you.

Date:   Sept 11
Time:   10 to 11:30am
On Zoom
Sign up here.
Presented with Jewish Gateways 


Kosher­soul: A Con­ver­sa­tion with Michael W. Twit­ty
Join Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and best-sel­l­­ing author Michael W. Twit­ty in a con­ver­sa­tion about iden­ti­ty, food, cul­ture, and inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty. Kosh­er­soul is a thought-pro­vok­ing mem­oir that looks at the cre­ation of African-Jew­ish foods as a result of migra­tion and the dias­po­ra. Michael Twit­ty will be joined by Adeena Suss­man, food writer and author of the upcom­ing book Shab­bat: Recipes and Rit­u­als From My Table To Yours.

Date:   Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 15
Time:   9:30am Pacific time
On Zoom
Sign up free here


Matinee Movie: Fiddler on the Roof
In celebration of the Jewish New Year, we’ll present this beloved film classic. Sit back, relax, enjoy the music and experience the richness of the season.

Date:   Wednesday, Sept. 21
Time:   1 to 4pm
Place:   SF Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Free, register here


Erev Rosh Hashanah Celebration with Camp Tawonga
Adults and kids of all ages are welcome to this family-friendly celebration! The program will include traditional prayers, songs, inspiring reflections and lots of Tawonga ruach (spirit)! Separate kids program offered too – learn more here.
Thank you to our event partner PJ Library.

Date:   Sunday, September 25
Time:   3pm-5pm
Place:   Joaquin Miller Park, 3600 Joaquin Miller Rd, Oakland
Cost:    Sliding scale: $18-$118 per person
Reserve Tickets Here


Rosh Hashanah Extravaganza
Bring a blanket and join Jewish Baby Network’s Jeni Markowitz Clancy and Carol Booth with our partner the Osher Marin JCC, for our Rosh Hashanah Extravaganza, with apple snacks, round challah, and “honey” (agave for the little ones). Meet us at Piper Park on the grass near the play area.

This event is free, but please consider a $10 donation to help support all of our wonderful programs. We know babies can be unpredictable, so please show up when you can!

Date:   Sunday, September 25
Time:   10:30am to noon
Place:   Piper Park, 250 Doherty Dr., Larkspur
Registration is appreciated but not required. Registration helps us plan and be in touch in case anything changes.
See details here


Rosh Hashanah with Wilderness Torah
Join the Wilderness Torah community for an earth-based Rosh Hashanah journey of celebration, prayer, reflection, release, and intention-setting for the coming year. We will gather at a beautiful space near Sebastopol, in Sonoma County, for an overnight retreat co-facilitated by Rabbi Zelig Golden, Nathaniel Markman, Music Director, Suzannah Sosman, Hazanit, and other community musicians. You are welcome to join us for the overnight retreat or just the day.

Retreat includes:

Multigenerational village in nature
Traditional Rosh Hashanah liturgy integrated with innovative, embodied ritual
Music, chanting, prayer, solo time on the land
Spiritual guidance for meaningful teshuva (relational & spiritual return)
Experiential youth programming
Thought-provoking discussions to transition us into the new year
Three delicious catered meals

Date & Time: 5:00 pm Sunday, September 25 to 5:00 pm Monday, September 26, 2022
Location: Outdoor site near Sebastopol, in Sonoma County, California. (Exact location and directions provided upon registration.)
Please see the website for details and costs.


Jewish Gateways Open High Holiday Services
Our in-person services meet outdoors in and around a big tent in the backyard of the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (JCCEB).

​We use prayer books we have created that help bring to life the themes of the services: reflection on the year ending and the new one beginning, repairing relationships, making changes, living our values, forgiveness, and more.

Rosh Hashanah begins Sept. 25
Place:   JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley
Details and registration here


Early Kol Nidre Service with Camp Tawonga
Tawongans and friends are invited to join our first-ever Early Kol Nidre service for a reflective, heart-opening and musical observance. This service is for participants 13+. After years of requests from many in the community, we are thrilled to finally offer this Tawonga-style program to begin the Yom Kippur holiday which concludes the ten “Days of Awe”. Like our Erev Rosh Hashanah Celebration, this service will be led by Rabbi Deborah Newbrun, Isaac Zones and friends – and will be full of music, prayer and reflection.

 Date:   Tuesday, October 4
Time:   3pm-5pm
Place:   Joaquin Miller Park, 3600 Joaquin Miller Rd, Oakland
Cost:    Sliding scale: $18-$118 per person

Reserve Tickets Here