g'day!

Dani - posted on 01/16/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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i'm dani; I'm a jewish agnostic and my husband (and father of our daughter) is a practising catholic. So far it hasn't caused too many probs - although our daughter will be having a blessing and welcoming in a catholic church, and a naming ceremony in a synagogue, even though her dad would probably prefer she was christened.



so i'm wondering how other people deal with these issues, which i'm sure get more complex as kids get older and issues of where they go to school, what rituals will be celebrated, what holidays are celebrated rear their heads...



what do you think? pls feel free to invite people you know!

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Lindsay - posted on 08/26/2009

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I guess I've never known a Jewish person, so I didn't realize that it was so much a culture. I thought it was the same as being catholic or christian. I don't really agree, but I sort of understand wanting the basic principles and not necessarily all the 'religious' rules that go with it. I think it's great you and your husband can combine on that. :)

I have heard the last bit from my husband, apparently Mormons think the same way, well, they want you to believe in God, but if you don't, it'd be better to do good. Anyway, thanks for answering my question.

Gabrielle - posted on 08/25/2009

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Quoting Lindsay:

Well, I have a question. If you are agnostic and he is a practicing catholic, then why are the rituals of the Jewish faith important to you? Actually, doesn't agnostic mean that you believe in God but don't really have a set of rules to live by? If so, then how can you be a Jewish agnostic?

I'm not trying to be critical. I know it sounds like that. I'm just curious.



Being an agnostic for me, and I think the general definition, means that you don't know if there is a God or not, so you usually don't worship one (as opposed to an atheist, who is certain there is no God).  I don't believe in a God, myself, or at least I don't consider myself limited to what the religious texts define a god to be.  But you certainly can be a Jewish agnostic, for several reasons.  One reason is that beyond faith, Judaism is a culture.  I feel very connected to my Jewish culture.  It's also a history, a bloodline, an ethnic group, in a way, except you can be Jewish and be of any ethnicity.  But you can be of Jewish descent and be of any faith.  I've very proud of my Jewish ancestry.  Lastly, my family rabbi has been quoted to have said that, if there's a choice between you believing in God but not doing good, or doing good and not believing in God, God would always prefer that you do good.  I think that's a very Jewish way of looking at things, as opposed to a typical Christian viewpoint, so it doesn't surprise me that it would incite curiosity.



I hope I'm stealing Dani's thunder by answering, but I want my daughter to  have certain Jewish rituals in her life because they were part of my life, my father's life, my grandparents' lives, etc.  And because my family in Germany was murdered for being Jewish - I will never let the bastards win by losing my traditions.  There are lots of ways of being Jewish, even if not all Jews can agree on that.  But that's part of the joy of being Jewish  :)

Lindsay - posted on 08/25/2009

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Well, I have a question. If you are agnostic and he is a practicing catholic, then why are the rituals of the Jewish faith important to you? Actually, doesn't agnostic mean that you believe in God but don't really have a set of rules to live by? If so, then how can you be a Jewish agnostic?

I'm not trying to be critical. I know it sounds like that. I'm just curious.

Gabrielle - posted on 04/02/2009

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I'm a Jewish agnostic, too, and my hubby is a non-practicing United Methodist. Our values are pretty similar, which helps, and we did talk about it before we got married, especially since we knew we wanted to have kids. My mom was raised Catholic and my dad is Jewish, so I'm already used to a mixed home. (Although my mom is Jewish, now). So, we do Easter and Passover gatherings, Hanukkah and 2 Xmas'es. The Christian stuff is the least religious, since we don't go to church, but we go to my parents' Seder and to their house to light Hanukkah candles. I want my daughter to learn about all of it, so she can decide, like I did. We have other family members who are Buddhist, Hindu, various born-again, Apache, and Confucian, so there will be lots of opportunity to learn. :) We have lots of mixed-faith families. :)



If/when my daughter goes to religious school, it will be a Jewish school. We decided that so she would have my faith and the "basis" for my husband's. I had no formal religious education and I wish I had. I took classes when I was older to make up for it. We didn't do any religious ceremonies when my DD was born, but I'm hoping she'll take a Hebrew name some day. The main thing is, we respect each other, and I want her to respect all beliefs.

Lin - posted on 03/24/2009

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When the kids are small, keep the conversation between the two of you - don't let either side try to influence one way or the other.  With me being solitary, its a bit easier to make sure our holidays don't overlap, and we schedule it months in advance.  The only time we've had problems is when my MIL demanded that we drop the celebration of Yule so we could go to her church (1 hour away) and participate in her church's activities for the day  - i.e. services she "volunteered" us to participate in - (we had already set the dates of what we were doing when and already informed her we were celebrating Yule that day, since the winter holiday season is so crazy for us - 3 sets of grandparents, plus our extended families, my husband's birthday, my sister's birthday, my parents' anniversary, and the Cincinnati weather).    After an argument between us, my hubby stuck to our guns and told her no, and she's gotten upset, but I figure she'll get over it one way or the other.  We just to remember Nick is our child, not hers.



Do you live in the same area that you or DH grew up in?  It might be a tad harder to separate his/your educational priorities for your daughter and feelings toward the school, church, etc.  My parents were of different faiths, but my dad insisted I go to the school he went to, even when I was being called a d**e daily and the principal said it was because I was playing double dutch with the black girls.  It wasn't until I told my mother that I will not stay in that school and there was nothing she could do about it - her choices were to find me a different school or be prepared to go to jail for me (my grandmother lived walking distance away, my sister went to a different school due to her learning disability and Mom stayed with her, and Dad eventually had to go to work).  And that conversation is where I learned that cussing people out gets your way, which lead to some not-so-fun teenage years.  So, the moral of the story is, please separate pride from priorites.

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