Parents in interfaith families often come to us with questions about celebrating the December holidays. Visit our Facebook group anytime in December and the feed is full of Christmas conundrums. From what to do about the Christmas tree to what to do with those complicated feelings about Christmas (or how to respond to your partner’s complicated feelings), there’s a lot to navigate.
We gathered some of the most common and most challenging questions from readers and shared our expertise in a live event. You can access the recording below. Lauren Schreiber Sasaki from Jewish& moderates the discussion and 18Doors staff members Rabbis Robyn Frisch and Malka Packer-Monroe draw on their experience working with interfaith families to shed light on user submitted questions. (Sorry, the live questions were shared in an off-camera safe space.)
What do you remember most about the winter holiday(s) you celebrated growing up? What was the most meaningful, memorable, and/or fun part of the holiday(s) for you? Did you see the holidays as religious, spiritual, cultural, or something else?
What do you hope to replicate of your experience now for your own family?
What is the most meaningful or fun thing about celebrating the winter holiday(s) that your partner grew up celebrating? How do you feel about your child(ren) growing up celebrating your partner’s holiday(s)?
Is it challenging for you to celebrate the winter holiday(s) that your partner grew up celebrating? How so? Is there a difference between you celebrating with your family in your home versus celebrating at your partner’s parents’ or other relatives’ homes? If you can’t be with your partner’s parents or other relatives this year because of the pandemic, are you willing to have certain celebrations in your home this year (e.g., Christmas dinner) that you weren’t willing to have in your home previously (or perhaps this is the second year you are doing things differently)?
18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.