Embracing diversity in the North American Jewish community is not limited to the inclusion of Jews-by-Choice, intermarried families, and Jews of Color. Truly embracing diversity also entails recognizing the diversity of those raising Jewish children who are not Jewish themselves.
Just like Jews, those from other religious backgrounds who are a part of the extended Jewish family—whether raising Jewish children, married to a Jewish partner or otherwise— represent a diverse constituency. An earlier post highlighted the rumors about a trend towards Catholic-Jewish intermarriages. Most make the assumption that if you aren’t Jewish, you’re probably Christian or from a similar religious background—assuming these individuals have a cherished religious background at all.
The Mothers Circle facilitator Kit Haspel of Providence, RI was recently interviewed by the Warwick Beacon in an article about the important work of The Mothers Circle to support interfaith families in the area. Kit made sure to note that interested mothers have come from a vibrant patchwork of backgrounds: Catholic, Buddhist and those professing no religion at all. She emphasizes that the thread tying them together is their commitment to raise children steeped in Jewish community, culture and life.
We at JOI do our best to use inclusive language to recognize the diversity of all those from other religious backgrounds that are raising Jewish children. Hopefully we as a North American Jewish community can continue these efforts through the content of our language and our programs, such as The Mothers Circle or The Grandparents Circle (for grandparents of interfaith grandchildren). As our community grows more diverse, maybe one day instead of just focusing on the Christmas tree, we’ll be adding Ramadan to the topic of those December dilemma conversations.