As some of you know, Cheryl spent part of this week in Philadelphia, beginning her fellowship with Interfaith Family, an organization dedicated to helping interfaith families explore Judaism. While we’re proud that interfaith families make up an important part of our Ramat Shalom family, the fact is, many in the larger Jewish community still struggle with what to do with interfaith couples, the children they bring into the world and the rituals they observe in their homes. I look forward to Cheryl sharing what she learned with us in Philadelphia and the wisdom she’ll continue to receive from her fellowship. It’s important that our congregation opens its doors to all those who want to connect in a meaningful way to Judaism. Thankfully, many interfaith families are looking for this meaningful connection.

If you watched the Oscars last week, you saw that Bao won for best animated short film. I saw Bao, which is Chinese for dumpling, in the theater and loved it. It speaks to the fact that interfaith, intercultural and interethnic relationships and families are receiving attention not just in our own Jewish world. If you haven’t watched the film, I encourage you to do so by clicking here. It tells the story of a Chinese mother’s struggle with her very unusual child and his very untraditional relationship. It also captures the challenges of both marriage and parenthood. The mother is very much alone in her struggle and, in a very unique way, attempts to overcome this struggle by devouring her son (yes, you read that correctly), thinking this is how she can put an end to the relationship with the young lady she does not approve of.

The movie doesn’t offer detailed solutions to the complex challenges interfaith families face. It does, however, remind us that when it comes to it, the love that is shared between parents and children is, in and of itself, complex and challenging. It is also absolutely beautiful. Bao drives this last point home. The beauty of the parent-child relationship should remain the focal point for those wrestling with interfaith issues. If this can be done, the other pieces just might fall into place with some tears, laughter and, hopefully, even more love.

Cheryl and I both understand the challenges of interfaith families not just because of what we do professionally. All our siblings have married partners of another faith and are either raising/have raised our nieces and nephews with two faiths or no real connection to a faith. We’re always here to help guide those of you navigate interfaith issues.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: