Note: This time around, we unfortunately didn’t have enough LGBTQ respondents taking our survey, and therefore our findings in that category aren’t telling when broken down into percentages. We did, however, get the following reader story.
A story from a LGBTQ couple
My partner is a convert, so the ritual activities fall to me, since he’s afraid he won’t do them right, or since his conversion isn’t complete, the mitzvot won’t count if only he does them. He has really stepped up in the cooking area lately, adapting Mexican and Filipino recipes he grew up with for Hanukkah, and that’s been a real joy for me, as has his effort to learn the Portuguese Jewish recipes of my childhood (specifically pão doce for Shabbat and malasadas instead of bimuelos). I mostly wish we had more energy/ability to really celebrate, and that there was more support from our community more than anything else. Overall, my partner is amazing, and I’m lucky to have him. This is our second Hanukkah as a married couple, and he’s really into it, 100%. I love that about him.
Stories from straight couples
Had it not been for me, my husband would have skipped lighting candles the first night. There will be no latkes unless I make them. He bought our toddler a Hanukkah gift, but didn’t consult me. I feel like it’s my responsibility to keep the candles burning. I hate that.
I am not Jewish, so I let my husband and children take the lead, but I love being a part of the festivities and doing what I can. The recipes are all handed down through the generations and only reside in his head, so I leave him to it.
It’s just easier if I do it. My husband is not interested in participating.
Being in a mixed Sephardic/Ashkenazi home, cultural traditions differ. My family came from a strong Sephardic matriarchal, gregarious structure. My husbands’s side never entertained so the idea of celebrating and preparing is limited. The comfort level is better for someone familiar with the whole tradition.
After 39 years of sharing a home, bringing up four children and now relishing the joy of grandchildren I can say that “it’s all good.” At different stages the balance of who did what changed. In the earlier years there was more defined roles and now we have more shared tasks.
I’ve always done it myself as I’m a single mom, and have been for 20 years. Before that I was married to a non-Jewish husband, so I still did everything.
I am ok with the labor breakdown in our home. I don’t believe a 50/50 breakdown for each task means gender equity. I take care of the cooking and my husband takes care of fixing home appliances, heating, etc. In a partnership, not everyone has to do everything.