Jewish Mother, Catholic
Girlfriend

I don't want to keep my new relationship a secret, but is interfaith dating ok?

Dear Rabbi Boteach,

How do you tell an Orthodox Jewish mother that you are dating a Catholic girl? I am a Jewish man who was raised Orthodox, but am not currently practicing. I am involved in a relationship with a Catholic girl who I love spending time with. She had introduced me to her family and they like me and let me come to their house. I however have kept her a "secret" from my very Jewish mother, and my girlfriend is now getting on me to tell my mom about her and even let her meet my mother. What's the easiest way I can go about telling my mother about my girlfriend without giving her a complete heart attack?


--Worried

Dear Worried,
Firstly, forgive me for my strong opinions on this subject. You did ask for it, so now you're going to get it. Boy oh boy, are you going to get it.

I hope you have heard of the movie "Mission: Impossible," because you are now starring in Tom Cruise's role. Simply stated, there is no easy way to introduce your mother to your non-Jewish girlfriend, because doing so will confirm to your mother her failure in instilling within you a desire to make Jewish choices in life, to build a Jewish home, and to raise Jewish children. Even for secular Jewish parents, this remains a high priority.

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I know it can sound highly unfair that certain groups demand that the faithful marry within the faith. But if Jews don't marry other Jews, then there won't be any Jews left. Everyone from Catholics to Mormons make a similar demand. They want their adherents to marry in the faith so that the faith is preserved.

I know your mother loves you, but I can tell you from endless experience that while she will of course one day accept whomever you marry, she will never make peace with the fact of you're marrying someone who isn't Jewish. It's the one line in the sand that Jewish parents do not compromise on, no matter how much or how much or how little Judaism they raise their children with.


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