Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating Christmas for Jewish Girls : A Guide (Part I)

Now that Chanukah is over, it is time to move on to Christmas.

Yup, that is right. I'm going to go all in this year and go two for two.

But, before I talk about our Christmas plans this year I want to share with you how we got to this point because it has been a long road, baby. Let me explain.

I'm Jewish and my husband is not. I don't want to speak for him in terms of what he considers himself because I think that is a really personal and complex decision, but suffice it to say he grew up going to Catholic school and his family is Christian.

second date (2005)

When we first started dating my DH told me that I was the first Jewish person he had ever really known. I can't remember exactly what brought this up, but I sure do remember how I felt afterward - I couldn't imagine that it was possible for someone to live their whole life and never have met a person who is Jewish.

Furthermore, it made me angry because as a Jewish person growing up in a largely Christian world I have been forced to become familiar with Christian holidays. I couldn't avoid the information even if I had tried. And, at the time, I felt there was no reason in the world that made it okay to be ignorant about other religions and their beliefs and holidays. I thought by adulthood that any thoughtful person would have made an effort to educate themselves on other religions. So the excuse (which is how I saw it) that he didn't know about Judaism because he had never met a Jewish person just made me angry.

3 month anniversary
I felt that it shouldn't be my job or the job of any other Jewish person to educate members of the dominant religion on our faith and culture. I am not the spokesperson for Judiasm and I resented being put in that position.

On top of the anger (or maybe underneath of it), I think it made me a little sad. Everyone wants to be understood by their partner and I think I started to question whether it was possible for Neill to understand me.

So if you couldn't tell already, I had some strong feelings on the subject! Looking back, I think this could have been a point where either one of us decided to throw in the towel (remember, we had only been dating a few months). I was realizing that it was important to me that my partner respected and understood where I was coming from as a Jew and I could have made the decision to stop pursuing an interfaith relationship. On the other side of things, Neill also might have decided that he would rather date someone who celebrated the same holidays as him and didn't have the same anger over his lack of knowledge of Judaism.

But, we didn't (obviously). In fact, somehow we were able to get to the point we are today - enjoying the best of both worlds.

Chanukah 2008
Christmas 2006 - I have a stocking!

In Part II, I will address how Neill and I navigated our interfaith relationship. And then get to the fun stuff - our Christmas plans for this year!

pss. read part II here!

1 comment:

catholicanarchy said...

This series rules. I'll be reading. Thanks!