Bintel Brief: Blu and Yitz Greenberg Say ‘Think Twice’ Before Wishing the Kids Had Married Non-Jews

Dear Blu and Yitz,

All of my daughters married Jewish boys. But sometimes I think it might have been better had two of them married non-Jewish boys who would at least have been supportive of their wives trying to bring some form of Judaism into their homes and into the lives of their children.

One of my daughters, to the chagrin of her husband, has enrolled my granddaughter in a Jewish Sunday school, and both attend holiday services. Her husband works on the High Holidays and will put up with attendance at secularized Jewish celebrations. My granddaughter may or may not become a bat mitzvah.

My other daughter informed me that her husband said he has better things to do with his money than to put it into a synagogue and into my other two granddaughters’ religious education. He also does not honor the holidays nor does he attend religious functions other than family events that he is expected to attend. My daughter has made it clear that she will do whatever it takes to keep peace in her home. She did say that she will take the girls, now 6 and 8, to see what Hebrew school is all about, but if they don’t like it, she will not insist they stay. Can you imagine leaving such a decision up to children that age?

Both my sons-in-law are talented, decent men who are good providers. All had bad experiences while being forced to become bar mitzvahed. As far as Judaism is concerned, they have never evolved beyond the age of 11 or 12 and are still angry.

I continue to send my grandchildren holiday greetings, books about holiday celebrations, invitations to celebrations, letters explaining the significant Jewish concepts, etc.

My wife, who is very secular, tells me not to push. But I see my grandchildren and my descendants being deprived of their religious heritage, their Yiddishkeit, and their civilization because of their Jewish fathers who find the faith into which they were born irrelevant to their lives and possibly an unnecessary burden.

I want to make this an issue, and my wife is against it. What do you advise?

FRUSTRATED FATHER

Blu and Yitz reply:

Blu Greenberg was the founding president of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She is the author of “On Women & Judaism” and “How To Run A Traditional Jewish Household,” among other books. Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg was the founding president of CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and served as the chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. He is the author of “The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays,” “Living in the Image of God: Jewish Teachings to Perfect the World” and “For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity.”


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Bintel Brief: Blu and Yitz Greenberg Say ‘Think Twice’ Before Wishing the Kids Had Married Non-Jews

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