My friend Laurel Snyder, editor of “Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes” and author of numerous children’s books, has a thoughtful piece out this week on Killing The Buddha about intermarriage, divorce and the Reyes case.
Laurel who, like me, has divorced parents and is herself intermarried, explores a lot of the same issues I’ve been thinking about (some elaborated on a column to be published in next week’s Jewish Week), vis a vis how interfaith issues play out when marriages implode. In emphasizing how she advises interfaith couples to discuss their differences before they become problems, she writes
My daughters are hardly book-deprived.
Thanks to two older cousins who supply us with a Strand’s worth of hand-me-downs, countless bookish relatives who keep Amazon.com busy around Chanukah and birthdays, and my husband Joe’s seeming inability to walk out of a Barnes & Noble without purchasing something, our bookshelves runneth over.
Still basking in the warmth from my weekend in Kentucky.
The weather was perfect, with blossoms at their peak of loveliness and wildflowers everywhere. And the folks at Keneseth Israel outdid themselves with their Southern hospitality — lavishing attention upon me, putting me up in a luxurious bed and breakfast, serving a home-cooked Shabbat dinner and Kiddush lunch, taking me out on Saturday night and giving me a full tour of Louisville on Sunday. One congregant even bought me a lottery ticket (I’ll find out if I win on Wednesday)!
This weekend I am heading south to Louisville, Ky., where I will be the Dave and Reva Kahn scholar-in-residence at Keneseth Israel Congregation, a Conservative synagogue.
It’s my first “scholar-in-residence” gig, and the fact that a Conservative shul sought me out for this honor is significant. While the Reform movement has for decades promoted outreach to interfaith families, the Conservative movement long held to a traditional, anti-intermarriage stance. As recently as two years ago, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism had a policy barring intermarried Jews and their spouses from publicly addressing its conventions.
Our relatives liked our Haggadah, with many reporting it was more meaningful and easier to understand than the tattered version we’d been using for years. And no one complained about the length (which, really, wasn’t all that long).
Monday night we attended a very informal seder in the neighborhood in which most of the families were intermarried and/or the children of intermarriage. I was impressed with the Haggadah, “The 30-Minute Seder,” which cleverly packs in all the key seder components, including the third and fourth cups and opening the door for Elijah, BEFORE the meal.
With Passover just a few hours away, I’m feeling a bit guilty for not doing more to prepare. In particular, I have not done (nor will I do) anything even resembling the traditional Passover cleaning, in which the home is purged of all chametz, the forbidden leavened products and grains.
In Joseph Reyes’ ongoing crusade to turn his ugly divorce battle into a broader cultural war, he and his lawyer are now depicting him as the persecuted dad who (because of his estranged Jewish wife Rebecca Shapiro Reyes) can’t take his daughter to church on Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar.