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You came into my life and I thought hey, you know, this could be something…

28/01/2010

Obviously my Facebook status gave it away – Brian and I have decided to make things official.

So far, so good; we’ve both told our respective parents and while they certainly aren’t thrilled, everybody involved seems to be supportive. Fortunately, with 3 1/2 years of separation it’s a little easier to swallow.

Last night we went out to dinner, and while I was telling him about a discussion we had at the office during lunch it took a personal turn. That is, we were discussing conversion to other religions and the difficulties involved in intermarriage, to seriously oversimplify. I’m sure everybody in my life knows that I am in the process of converting to Judaism — in fact, I have an appointment at B’nai Jeshurun on Monday to get on track with the process. Brian, of course, was raised as and continues to be a Methodist.

Obviously I don’t want to jump the gun on forever; even if I was in a position to consider settling down and starting a family it’s an inappropriate consideration to entertain when you’ve been in a relationship for less than a week. Because of our history, though, I feel comfortable going through the options and consequences when I think about Brian — and, because of the delicacy of the issue, it is something to think about sooner rather than later.

The first obstacle was the hypothetical wedding itself. I want a Jewish ceremony…not necessarily an Orthodox one with no dancing and gender separation, but at the very least I want a rabbi to officiate. Brian isn’t in favor of this, but I think there is an easier compromise here than anywhere else: have a ceremony at a non-religious location and iron out the finer point of the officiant afterward. Hopefully when it is time for me to think about marriage, the man I marry will be open to the discussion.

The question of children, however, is going to be a major sticking point from the way the discussion went, if I do intermarry. I want to raise my children to be Jewish (of course), though once they reach their Bar/Bat Mitzvah I think it should be their choice. What I really want is to encourage my children to learn and grow and find their own path, the way that’s right for them — basically, what I had growing up. The biggest problem with that if I intermarry is that I will be the only Jewish influence outside of the synagogue. Everybody else – extended family, even their other parent – will not give up their celebration of Christian holidays, nor would I expect or ask them to. As much as I want my as-yet hypothetical children to understand other traditions, however, I don’t want to actively send a contradictory message. It’s possible to find a working middle ground, but I would feel wrong just giving in on this.

So this is where we stand. Again, white dresses and 2-car garages are still in the unforeseen future, I can’t help but consider this as I move forward in my conversion. Many intermarried families make it work, and I think with love and support it’s still possible…I guess time will tell.

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