The Religion Decision

Intermarriage, religious continuity, adult children of intermarriage, inclusiveness… these are topics covered on this blog on a daily basis. Intermarriage creates a complicated path to navigate, and at JOI we do our best to help families find their way to a meaningful Jewish future. But these are not simply Jewish issues. They are American issues, spanning religions from Baptist to Zoroastrian.

Writing in the Boston Globe, Lylah M. Alphonse opened up a seemingly simple question to her readers. She asked: “Who makes the religion decisions for your kids?” It has touched off quite a robust discussion on the Globe’s website. Some say they have chosen to raise their children in both religions and when the “children reach an age when they can decide for themselves, then they can choose whatever religion (or none) that they want to practice.”

The ones who say they aren’t going to have any religion in the home say they will support whatever future decisions their children make. But some argue: “How are children expected as adults to choose a religion when they are not introduced to one when they are younger?” And for many there is the added pressure of grandparents and extended family, all weighing in with their opinions on what the parents should or shouldn’t do.

The discussion is evidence that nearly every religion grapples with intermarriage. It’s an issue that is becoming unavoidable as religious groups blend more and more. So we would like to open this question up to the readers of our blog – if you are in an intermarriage, how do you make religious decisions for your family? How do you respond to external pressure from family, friends and the community? We welcome your insights!

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