I am writing to you after reading the article, “How to not spoil your interfaith kids during the holiday season” (Dec.3).
The Jewish “holiday season” comes in the fall (with Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah) and the spring (Passover and Shavuot). We have many beautiful and enriching rituals of our
own that are attached to these holidays, and it is a shame that more Jews don’t take advantage of celebrating them. If you have built and decorated a sukka, you will not have “Christmas tree envy.” In fact, by the time our family gets to this American holiday season, I am all “holiday-ed out,” especially this year when Hanukka comes on the heel of Thanksgiving. It brings a different perspective, even
though we decorate the house for Hanukka, have parties, and buy presents for everyone.
Interfaith marriages are more and more prevalent these days, even in the Conservative movement where I serve as a religious school teacher. Sometimes my students will tell me they are “half-Jewish and half-Christian.” Sooner or later, they are going to have to decide that either Jesus has divine status or he doesn’t; you can’t have it both ways. Let’s remember that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus.
When my older students ask, “but what if I fall in love with a non-Jew [and want to marry him/her]?,” I remind them that love is a feeling and a commitment based on that feeling. If they are blessed to feel and act on love, they will be able to do it again. If you don’t believe me, look at widows and widowers who truly loved their first spouse and then found in their hearts the gift to love and marry again.
Nita Polay Levin