Culture, Religion

Everything Bagel, Extra Shellac Please.

The NYTimes has posted an article about The December Dilemma facing interfaith families.
The best quote from the article (referring to a shellacked bagel one father places at the top of his christmas tree):

In the late ’80s it finally fell apart, and I had to shellac another one

While I am certainly a proponent of multi-faith families, the Times article points to some of the unforeseen emotional difficulties of negotiating a mixed practice household. I actually think much of the trouble would be eliminated if the members of the household actually had robust religious lives, rather than dumping all their ethnic and religious identity into one month of the year.
Perhaps the most notable thing about the article, however, is their inclusion of a gay couple with a young son. I recall a few year ago when the Times’ decision to print gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies led to headlines in other papers.

That first Times couple? Jewish.

Sometimes I feel like the Times covers more Jewish news than the The Forward.

8 thoughts on “Everything Bagel, Extra Shellac Please.

  1. If you care about being Jewish (or Christian, for that matter), and how your kids turn out, why would you marry someone of the opposite faith to begin with (unless at the very least your spouse to be has agreed to be supportive in raising any children in your faith)? I have some friends who “married out” without even thinking about their kids religion – now that the children are ready to start attending some sort of religious services, there is a great divide between spouses. If you don’t give a shit about being Jewish (or Hindu, or whatever) then don’t give it a second thought – but if you do, isn’t religion at least as important as everything else you look for on that List: personality, looks, smarts, etc.! Love doesn’t conquer all – and if you did fall in love with someone who was sweet but stupid, would you still go ahead and marry them?

  2. shellacked bagel? ewwww.
    inflatable lawn menorahs? just as tacky as inflatable santa.
    serious jewish identity going on. . .

  3. The caption under one of the photos reads “Amy Manata’s sons, Sammy and Joey, show off holiday decorations”. I would hope that the channukiah in the photo would be seen as something of ritual significance rather than simply a decoration to be shelved and admired.

  4. Most of the interfaith families I know are nothing like those portrayed in the article. Frankly, it sounds to me like most of those parents still have some growing up to do.
    I’m grateful to my non-Jewish partner for being as committed as I am to having a Jewish family. We don’t have turf wars over religion, there’s no passive agressive competition to make sure our respective holidays look good. We talked about religion before we were married, and continued before we had children. By the time the children were born we knew our family would be Jewish, though we take part in Chrstmas and other holidays at grandma and grandpa’s house.

  5. Wow, I kinda agree with incorrect. Moshiakhtsayt or anti-moshiakhtsayt? In any case, speaking of the problems facing interfaith families, here’s empty consumerism to the rescue:
    Also, speaking of the complex interplay of Jewish and goyish culture, I have to give a shout out to German Jewish refugee Kurt Adler, founder of Santa’s World and the zeyde (z”l) of Christmas kitsch.
    Seriously, dude *invented* licensed Christmas knicknacks. Also, from the obit: “A Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany who did not celebrate Christmas, Mr. Adler recognized the holiday’s commercial potential after importing hand-carved angels from his native Bavaria.” I think crass exploitation IS a kind of celebration, don’t you??

  6. why would you marry someone of the opposite faith to begin with…?

    Um… maybe because you fell in love with her? Or is that not supposed to be a consideration for affiliated Jews?
    PS: Let’s admit it. We invented Christmas. At least, Christmas as it’s celebrated in the U.S.
    Who wrote White Christmas? Who wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? (see here) What ethno-religious group basically invented department stores? Etc.

  7. Read the article closely and note what’s missing — any real mention of the spiritual or RELIGIOUS aspects of either holiday. Apropos of the section in which it appeared, the Home supplement, the article treats Chanukah and Christmas as style and relationship challenges.

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