My husband and I are an interfaith couple; we come from different religious backgrounds. I was raised in a devote Roman Catholic family, he in a reformed Jewish one. I was brought up attending church each week, receiving both my First Communion and subsequent Confirmation, while my husband attended classes to learn about Judaism and Hebrew in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah. We were raised just thirteen miles from one another, yet in terms of our religions, our traditions sometimes felt thousands of miles apart.
When we first met, the topic of our faiths were woven into conversation. We discussed what our faith meant to each of us and what was important. In our case, we knew pretty early on that we wanted to be together forever, so it was important to talk about these issues in a frank and honest way. Supporting each other in our beliefs is something that we both strive for. We celebrate and observe holidays of both religions in a cultural way, which can be a bit chaotic at times but also exciting. It works for us — it did while we were dating and has continued now throughout our marriage and the birth of our son. There are times when I feel the desire to attend church and my husband unequivocally supports me. My parents ask to bring my son with them to church and we enthusiastically agree. We light the menorah during the 8 days of Hanukkah, spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family, and celebrate Rosh Hashanah with friends and family.
At the end of the day, I chose my husband (yes, I truly believe that marriage is a choice) for all of the reasons he is wonderful: his intelligence, kindness, drive, and ability to keep me calm during a crisis. Our religions may be different, but our values and commitment to raising our son to be a strong gentleman remains the same. We realize that there will come a time when our son questions our choices — he was not baptized and his circumcision was performed by my OB in the NICU of our hospital rather than a bris performed by a mohel — and we are prepared for that day. We will give him all the information and guidance that he needs to follow in our path or to create his own. During this time of year when Christmas trees and menorahs are plenty, we try to make our interfaith family work. We read stories of both traditions. We eat latkes and lasagna, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and we pray the Sh’ma. This is us.