In an attempt to get down and gritty with some of the most controversial elements of Judaism, Sixth & I and the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning teamed up to create the Challenging Conversations lecture series, to be officiated by Dr. Erica Brown, adult education director at PJLL.
Wednesday’s session, as you might have guessed, dealt with intermarriage. While we were serenaded by Sixth & I’s entertainment guest of the night, we watched a segment of documentary film, Mixed Blessings: Thinking about Interfaith Relationships, followed by a discussion of these families on the personal and the overall scales.
I have to say that I was impressed with my “classmates,” most of whom were in interfaith relationships (and some even dragged along their partners. :P) Most of the couples were Jewish/Christian, but we also had a Muslim, a Hindu-turned-atheist and if I may be glib, an in-married Israeli who perhaps is in an “interfaith relationship” with our highly Christian country. 😛
Some people were dating, others were married, and most everyone seemed to be very passionate about hashing these issues of identity out either with their loved ones, their parents, or themselves. Dr. Brown provided a warm and plural environment where we could see every angle of how to raise children, the changing face of American Judaism, etc., but we were not judged—indeed, we were welcomed back—after finding love outside of the tribe.
Of course, I am in love with non-Jew (or anyone, unless you count Rabbi Brad Herschfield. :P) I don’t often talk about being the child of an intermarried couple and I’m even less comfortable speaking about it. 😛 But at least I was able to contribute something to the conversation, rambly though it was. Perhaps I ought to just stick to my articles on InterfaithFamily.com (there should be one upcoming for the Christmas/Chanukah season!) 😀
Challenging Conversations will return in January with a lecture on Jews and homosexuality, followed for two consecutive months with Jews and diversity and Jews and money. For more information, you can find them on Facebook here.