It All Depends on the Man

Whether your hunch has any logic to it depends on the particular men in question, their character and integrity, and how you envision your life together. Neither an interfaith marriage nor a Jewish-Jewish marriage is a guarantee of happiness or success.

Theoretically, marrying a Christian with faith could be easier than marrying a Jew without any provided that the Christian man is interested in learning about Judaism and raising Jewish children. If that’s the case, Harvey Cox’s book “Common Prayers” is a must read. But if the Christian man is devout and insists that you and any children practice his religion too, then stick to your original decision about raising an interfaith family not feeling right.

A benefit of being partnered with an atheistic Jewish man is that there will never be any question about the identity of your children. They will be 100% Jewish by default. However, if you want to be proactive about raising children who are Jewish by religion and culture as well as descent, and sense that your current partner would not be on board, you might consider a third option: perhaps Mr. Right is still out there.

Whoever you choose, be aware that people and relationships change over time. I fell in love with a Catholic, he agreed to raise Jewish children, and we got married. After our daughter was born, our pre-marital deal faltered because my parenting was supposedly “too Jewish.” Our marriage didn’t fail because it was interfaith; it failed because one of us did not practice what he preached.

Dr. Keren R. McGinity is the director of the Love & Tradition Institute, a nonprofit organization committed to full inclusion in the Jewish community and education about intermarriage. She is affiliated with Brandeis University and the author of “Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage and Fatherhood”, and “Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America”.

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It All Depends on the Man

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