I came across a book in my home today, it reminded me of the day I went to see the author speak and I purchased the book to support him and take a look at his craft. (I’ve decided to leave the title and author out because I don’t mean any harm to him) The inside page reads “Dedicated to Jewish families of all backgrounds.”
The author spoke of how the number of practicing Jews is decreasing each generation and how so many Jews don’t consider themselves Jewish due to non observance within their families. When it came time for questions I raised my hand. “My household is multicultural and I would like to hear your thoughts on running a home with two faiths.” The author started by telling me that his advice was no disrespect to me (since I obviously married a non Jew) but that I should do everything in my power to keep my kids from marrying a non Jew, start talking to them about it when they’re young, etc.
I turned to look at my dear friend of many years, the Rabbi’s wife. We wore big grins and wanted to chuckle at his answer because we know my situation, but in reality it was not funny. It was a testament to the true view on multi-faith households by many. How far have we really come from judging races, those of a different sexual orientation or of those of a different religion?
The next person to raise their hand said they did all that the author advised me to do but that their son was raising his kids with almost no religion and they wanted to know how they could make an impact on their Grandchildren’s faith. Their faces were very distressed and the wife rung her hands as she spoke, pleading for help with this dilemma. I sat and felt a mix of not belonging and inner strength, perhaps the true trademarks of a convert.
Many of us want the same things: to love and be loved, to feel closeness to God, to give charity and contribute in some way to humankind if even just by being kind, to live by the same basic moral values.
Why must people of different faiths frown on each other? How far have humans come? When will different be okay?