Tips for Navigating Jewish Life with Your Interfaith Family

Some converts find that embracing judaica webstore gives them a sense of purpose, meaning, and joy. Judaism is a choice that brings a whole new life with many relationships, memories, expectations, and responsibilities. It is difficult enough to establish one’s adult identity without the help of one’s parents. The waters get even more turbulent when you add religious conversion.

These are some tips to help converts who struggle to deal with their new faith and their family of origin.

1) Take time to reflect. Spend some time alone or with your partner before you speak with your family. What are your problems and theirs? What are the most difficult topics? If there are many, determine which are the most important.

2) Communicate with your family in advance: It’s important to let them know if you have any life changes that could affect the visit. Are you keeping kosher? Do you keep kosher? If so, invite others to bring food or send a shopping list. If you are going to light Shabbat candles, let others know and invite them to join you.

Explain Judaism. Many Jewish Jewish practices are based on universal values such as compassion, gratitude, and humility. Describe the meaning of the holidays and rituals, and explain how they have enriched you life.

4) Participate in Other Ways: You don’t need to be Jewish to make latkes and attend Passover seders. It doesn’t make one a Christian to eat Christmas dinner with your family. If your family is interested, find ways to allow them to be involved in your Jewish life. Reassure them that you care about them, and that you haven’t forgotten your past. Remember that nothing is set in stone. You are not required to make the same decision every year.

Acknowledge loss: Your family may feel a loss when you choose a different path from the one you were raised. Simply say, “It’s not what you expected.” or “It’s different.” Listen for your response. Recognize your loss. It is possible to be both happy to be Jewish while also grieving the loss of a small part of yourself.

6) Say thank you: Thank your family for their support. Talk to your family about the things they might not be supportive of. If they don’t listen, you can talk to them or a friend. You’re not the only one. These waters are not unique to you.

7) Forgive yourself: Even if you don’t have the time to have these conversations now, you can still show respect by modeling it without having to explicitly talk about it. You made the courageous decision to live a Jewish lifestyle. You can be who you are in your heart and soul.