I am Jewish but my husband is not. When we got married, he asked me if I wanted him to convert to Judaism. I, in turn, asked him if he wanted to be Jewish. He said not particularly. We left it at that. The only condition was that I wanted to raise our family Jewish. He was (and is) totally on board with that.
There are many perks of an interfaith household. While within the walls of our house, we celebrate the Jewish holidays only. However, on days like Christmas, Easter, First Communions and Baptisms, we get to join in the fun, too.
This year, Hanukkah fell on Christmas Eve. We went out for Chinese food as is my family’s tradition and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Then we came home and lit the menorah and exchanged presents. The next day, we woke up and headed to NJ to visit our in-laws to celebrate Christmas. It was a glorious day filled with laughter and love and a few more presents.
My daughter is three years old. She will be four in the spring. I was worried that she would ask why Santa does not come to our house or why her cousins say grace before the meal and we do not. Instead, she embraces it all and takes it all in and gets to enjoy all the nuances of all the days. I think that is pretty amazing.
I have learned in my life that there is no right or wrong. There is no my way or no way. Part of being alive and enjoying life is embracing what you know and love and letting others share their beliefs and traditions with you as well. What I worried was going to confuse my daughter is going to end up making her a very well rounded person. At least I hope.
As my daughter nears her next birthday, I am excited that she may be able to take part in the Passover Seder this year. Still too young for the Four Questions, she may be able to at least point out the elements on the Seder plate or open the door for Elijah. I also look forward to the Easter egg hunt she will have at my mother-in-law's house. She will run around with her cousins and squeal with excitement as the snow thaws and the eggs are discovered.
Is that the “right” way to raise a Jewish kid? I don’t know, really, But what I do know is that it’s not wrong. Not for my family.