Last week we blogged about Zoe Klein’s debut novel, Drawing in the Dust, in which the protagonists are in an interfaith relationship. In two more books released this year – Tomato Rhapsody, about a 16th century Jewish tomato farmer who falls in love with a Catholic olive farmer, and A Seat at the Table, the story of an Orthodox Jewish man who falls for a woman who isn’t Jewish – a clear interfaith theme emerges. We have to wonder, why are there so many books being written and released with character plots featuring interfaith couples?
We think the simple answer is because it’s a reflection of what’s happening in today’s Jewish community. And seeing the theme explored serves a great purpose. More novels, movies, and TV shows that deal either explicitly or implicitly with intermarriage or interfaith relationships helps all those who find themselves in similar real-life situations. When these couples and families see that their experiences are shared, it helps remove the stigma and hopefully opens up avenues of conversation where maybe there wasn’t one before.
Regardless of how the stories progress, it’s exciting to see these relationships given such a prominent role. Intermarried couples and interfaith families have a lot to offer the Jewish community. Strengthening their voice through fiction might highlight their significance and encourage the mainstream Jewish community to better welcome them in.