Finally, you’ve found someone fun, well-grounded, charming, and successful—someone your folks are bound to like. But oy gevalt! They’re also bound to notice that this someone wears a cross.
- Step 1: While you must honor your father and mother, you must also honor your commitment to this romantic relationship. Nevertheless, don’t imagine yourselves as Romeo and Juliet—remember, they both died in the end. Be practical about making an interfaith relationship work.
- TIP: Alert your partner to some of the common dietary restrictions in Judaism, even if your family doesn’t keep kosher, so your partner doesn’t volunteer something like, “How about I order a salami and cheese plate for the table?”
- Step 2: If, despite your best efforts, your parents collapse upon hearing your intentions toward the Christian, then proceed to: tilt head, lift chin, check breathing; administer two breaths; check pulse; position hands in the center of chest; firmly push down 2 inches on the chest 30 times; repeat until paramedics arrive.
- Step 3: Start working through the guilt.
- FACT: In the Book of Numbers, even Moses had to contend with disapproving relatives due to the wife he chose.
- Step 4: Attach some good news to the first meeting. You got a promotion, a raise, you quit smoking, you stopped with all the junk food, you upgraded your health insurance, your next-door neighbor is a policeman…so what’s to worry?
- Step 5: Choose a place and time that gives your parents a chance to meet your partner informally at first—perhaps lunch at a favorite bistro. Familiar, comfortable surroundings may help soften the blow.
- Step 6: Explain Judaism to your partner as it applies to you and your family. Include reasons for the prohibition among many Jews on interfaith relationships—a taboo owing to persecution, the historical pressure to assimilate to the dominant culture, and the desire for continuity among the Jewish people. Some branches of Judaism, though, welcome it.
- TIP: The word “Christian” may seem self-explanatory, but consider that there are Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, and Baptists, just to name a few—all of whom consider themselves Christian but with different track records when it comes to Judaism.
- TIP: Without assigning personal accountability to your partner, outline some of the obvious reasons Jews might associate the word “Christian” with the words “Exit Visa.” Suffice to say, an interfaith relationship can have its hurdles.
- Step 7: Recognize that your partner’s goyish, or non-Jewish, manner will be obvious to your parents, so celebrate your differences.
- TIP: Take a moment to really enjoy the word “goyish.”
- Step 8: Understand what kind of Christianity your partner practices.