Monday, August 22, 2011

News: Gwyneth Paltrow Announces She's Raising Her Children Jewish ...Huh?

Gwyneth Paltrow has announced that she is raising her children Jewishly. US Weekly has one version of the story: "Gwyneth Paltrow: I'm Raising Apple and Moses Jewish." However, the story is wrong in that the episode did not show anyone giving Paltrow lessons in Jewish halacha about matrilineal descent. While I'm sure it came up in real life, it didn't make it into the episode itself.

But really? Oy to the vey.

Paltrow's father is Jewish, and she was raised celebrating both Christian and Jewish traditions. She describes this as "such a nice way to grow up." Excuse me while I am underwhelmed by your enthusiasm.

I'm also confused as to how a celebrity "announces" that she is changing how she raises her children. Do you hold a press conference? "I am here to announce that I now declare my children to be Jews. I am also extending their bedtime by one hour. Thank you, and have a good evening." I'm confused how this got into the news at all.

I guess I'm just confused overall. But on the other hand, I don't care what childrearing decisions a celebrity makes. While I think this decision will lead to some difficult identity issues for her children regarding any Jewishness they are raised with (but with 2 non-Jewish parents, I can't imagine it's a lot), that is not my business. It's between the parents and a rabbi. Why is this newsworthy?? Yet here it is on my blog. I haven't written it yet, but this story puts the fire under me to write about intermarriage sooner than I had intended, especially since "patrilineal Jews" are a large number of conservative and orthodox converts today. It's not fair to the children, and Paltrow's situation is that much worse as neither parent actually believes he or she is Jewish. It's programming your children with identity issues by telling them they are part of a group that both parents know do not accept them. 

If you want to watch the mentioned video of Who Do You Think You Are, it's still up on Hulu. To her credit, at least Paltrow can pronounce chutzpah. We'll talk about her version of kabbalah soon enough ::eyeroll::

End snarkiness. What, you didn't know that I'm the snarkopotomus?


  1. I don't follow celebrity ANYTHING, but this just seems like a shallow attempt to grab the spotlight for a little while and generate buzz during a possibly "buzz-free" point in her career. Bah, humbug.

  2. I watched it but missed when she said she was going raise her kids Jewish? I've seen in her interviews talking about Christmas, etc so yeah..right.

    When she says "because I study Kabbalah" I could have just about puked. I wonder what the guy talking to her thought?

  3. This bothers me so much. These kids wouldn't even be considered Jewish by Reform standards (as far as I know, since neither of the parents is Jewish). She is setting her kids up for some serious identity issues, and as someone who "studies kabbalah" she should know better.
    As a side note, I've always been curious who is teaching all these non-Jewish women "kabbalah."

  4. If she was raised Jewish, Reform judaism considers her Jewish, and many other Jews would consider her Jewish if she was raised Jewish and identifies as such.

  5. If she was to raise her children in a Reform community, they would be accepted as Jews because she is a Jew in the eyes of the Reform community. When we raise children, we don't PROGRAM them to do or to be anything (or else, we would have people who are Jewish by conversion at all because they'd have been programmed to something else... whatever they were raised.) If Paltrow embraces the Reform movement for her children, they can find a meaningful and fulfilling spiritual life in Judaism. And they would be accepted there. They (the children) can then make decisions as adults if they want to pursue a Halakhic conversion. (I'm not Reform... in case you're wondering)

    1. Originally posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      Regarding Paltrow, not every patrilineal Jew is a Jew by the reform definition. From what I could ascertain in my "research" for this post, she was not raised as a Jew, just with Jewish traditions like Channukah. It doesn't appear that she was raised to be a Jew or had a bat mitvzah. The reform movement recognizes patrilineal children as Jews if they are raised AS Jews. Because that is hard to measure, it is measured by synagogue attendance and (most importantly) a bar/bat mitzvah. It appears Paltrow's parents raised her with customs from both sides but no formal religious affiliation. If my understanding is correct, the reform movement would not recognize her as a Jew.

      Notably, I have found no place where she refers to herself as a Jew, even though she could have in the context. It certainly doesn't appear that she self-affiliates as a Jew or ever has.

  6. Maybe she doesn't realize that reading "Kabbalah For Dummies" isn't the same as actually studying...

    Also - I believe that I am the original snarkopotomos!

  7. Interesting tidbit on Reform and mixed marriages:


    '... the child of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father is no longer ipso facto a Jew, just as the offspring of a Gentile mother and Jewish father is no longer ipso facto a Gentile. In both cases, the child is presumed to be a Jew, but this presumption must be validated "through subsequent and meaningful acts of identification."'

    I don't know if it's right to call this a case where the Orthodox (and Conservative) are meikil and the Reform are machmir, but it's an interesting distinction nonetheless.

    1. Originally posted: August 23, 2011 at 2:17 AM

      Mike, that is REALLY interesting. I didn't realize the same presumption issue applies to matrilineal Jews. So BTs must convert in order to be reform?? don't see that EVER happen. But interesting theoretically.

  8. I have no idea how it actually plays out in practice, and if a matrilineal Jew wants to become a Reform BT if that can be considered sufficient evidence of Jewish tradition to negate the conversion requirement. Or why it matters at all, in my more cynical moments (do they require a minyan to say kaddish, or would they say it's OK even without?)

    Putting on a legal (or talmudic) hat, I'm not sure what the practical difference would be, if the acts of Jewish identification could come at any time. I don't know how they view reward and punishment for mitzvos; maybe if a matrilineal Jew never associated as Jewish they'd consider them exempt but if they decided they wanted to act Jewish they'd need teshuva for all the earlier aveiros b/c it's not a conversion from now on but rather showing retroactively that they were always a Jew?

    Then again, we can look at halacha as a fundamentally consistent philosophy where we're unclear on some details, and so we try to reconstruct the original ideal as best as possible. We can view a secular legal system as being an attempt to balance a source document and competing philosophies while respecting precedent. I'm not sure what benefit a theoretical analysis of a non-halachic non-legally binding system is to a non practitioner. Well, other than being fun (for a given definition of fun, of course :) ).

  9. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    So she's decided to raise her children as Jews, huh? What the hell, why doesn't she decide to do something REALLY nonconformist and raise them as dolphins?

    And then, 20 years down the road, instead of being angry at halachic Judaism for not accepting them, they can go complain to SeaWorld instead. Please, Gwyneth, think about it. At least keep an open mind. Dolphins can swim underwater so much farther than Jews...

    Paltrow reminds me of that quote about Daisy Buchanan and her husband in "The Great Gatsby", how they went careening around with no comprehension of the kind of damage they wreaked in other people's lives.

    I suppose we can't expect any better from someone who names her child "Apple". (My own mother, may she rest in peace, was careful to give her children names that would look well signed on a check.)

  10. I'm one of those idealists that likes to assume the best of people...until proven otherwise. Plus, I don't follow celebrity news and don't know much about Gwynneth except that she has strange taste in children's names.

    It could be that she has, after some deep soul searching, decided that she wants her family to convert and live as a Jewish family. I can relate to that considering my family are undergoing a similar path. Perhaps she decided to announce this to the world to head off the media speculating about upcoming lifestyle changes? It could also be that she's read a couple of books about Kabbalah and flaked out, (cough...Madonna...cough) and decided to make a big announcement that she and her family are now, somehow magically...Jews. I don't know her or her life well enough to know which might be the case.

    Interestingly, that's one of the reasons I've avoided reading anything about Kabbalah. I'm concentrating on getting more Torah under my belt and trying to keep my head on the ground because you constantly hear stories of goyishe celebrities getting swept up in Kabbalah.

    In the end, though, I've been on the receiving end of enough judgment that I don't feel like passing judgment on someone else. Besides, I feel like matters like these are for the Rabbis and G-d to straighten out...not me. I certainly have enough things to study and learn!

  11. It's certainly possible that her kids have converted already, or are going to convert. It is true that if she wasn't raised as Jewish then she isn't considered Jewish by the Reform movement, and if the father also isn't Jewish, then the Reform movement wouldn't consider the kids to be Jewish either, without conversion.

  12. Criticizing Gwyneth Paltrow for having given her daughter the name "Apple" is really casting stones in glass houses, isn't it? How is it objectively different from a name like Feigeh (bird) or Tzvi (deer) or Asher (happy) or Devorah (hornet), Yael (mountain goat). Or am I missing your point?

  13. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    Someone who would name her kid something so unconventional in her own language and culture so as to render her child a likely laughingstock probably thinks little of flauting convention--and the rules--of more significant conventions such as halacha, of which Paltrow is not an arbiter. And damn the consequences to little Apple's sense of identity later on.

    It isn't so much that kabbalah per se is "dangerous", rather that without background it is incomprehensible, like trying to read the directions to a complex piece of exuipment in Hungarian when you don't know the language. There's very little take-home value.

    Paltrow, like so many others of our era, thinks that when it comes to complex systems like halachic Judaism, she can make up the instructions and the reality as she goes along.

  14. This is an interesting discussion (especially with regard to the concept of Reform BTs... I actually have heard of people who discovered previously-unknown matrilineal Jewish roots and had Reform conversions. Very few, but they're out there). Personally, I'm torn. In some ways, it smacks to me of the same kind of, "Woo! Judaism has cool stuff! Let's do that!" cultural appropriation that you get in Messianic circles, but Paltrow does have Jewish roots, and if she wants to return to them, that's her prerogative.

    That said, I think she owes it to her kids, assuming she's taking this decision seriously, to pick a normative Jewish community in which to raise them, and that would, by necessity mean conversion of one kind or another. I'm not necessarily saying Orthodox, either (I'm Conservative, myself). I agree with Anonymous above who says that she and her kids could have a perfectly meaningful Jewish life within the parameters of a Reform synagogue. But Judaism, of any stripe, is not really a lone wolf kind of religion. You need a community for most major life cycle events and holidays (speaking as someone who currently lives in a place without much of a community) and right now, there really isn't a Jewish community that would regard Gwyneth and her kids as Jews (maybe the secular humanist Jewish community, or Renewal, but I don't know much about them). If she wants to send her kids to Hebrew school or day school or camp, even Reform ones, she's going to have to take the step of converting/having her kids converted in some capacity, assuming she hasn't done so already.

    I also agree that if she opts for a Reform or Conservative conversion, there's nothing wrong with that; the kids can make the decision to pursue Orthodoxy as adults if they so choose. As a female, Conservative convert, I've considered this issue a lot. I wouldn't ever say, "I'll never be Orthodox," but for various reasons, I don't think it's especially likely. That said, if any kids I have later decide to pursue an Orthodox conversion, that's entirely their prerogative, and I would absolutely support them in that. I think it's a question of being honest about the issues with your kids when they're of an age that they can understand them, so that they know where they stand. I'm not ashamed of the choices I made, I went in with full knowledge of the ramifications, and I owe it to my kids to give them the information they'll need to make decisions appropriate for the lives they want to live. The same goes for any parent, including Gwyneth Paltrow. I just hope this is something she's actually taking seriously as opposed to some faddish flight of fancy (and how's that for alliteration?). Though admittedly, the Kaballah stuff does grate, I'd rather try to ascribe positive motives and give the benefit of the doubt.

  15. Well, you can say that Judaism is a religion, but being Jewish is not about being religious, we are a people, and not a religion. Why everyone here sees it just in terms of religius affiliation escapes me.

    Jews are a semitic people that spread around the earth after the Roman conquest of Judea and the detruction of the second Temple in ~70CE,and those who joined in later. (Those who join assimilate into the community). It is not that Jews are the community of those who practise Judaism, it is the other way around: Judaism is the religion of the Jews.

  16. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    "Why everyone here sees it just in terms of religius affiliation escapes me."

    Whaddya mean, "everybody", Kimosavee? And besides arbitrary self-identification, what on earth does Gwyneth have to do with Jewish peoplehood *or* culture?

  17. >And besides arbitrary self-identification, what >on earth does Gwyneth have to do with Jewish >peoplehood *or* culture

    He father is Jewish, observant, from a famous rabbinical line. I know, Gwyneth is the last one you would suspect of being half-Jewish :)

    1. Originally posted: August 24, 2011 at 9:55 PM

      I'm sorry to have to jump in on this, but "her dad is observant"? Really, you want to make that argument?? He was so observant that her married a non-Jew and raised his children with Christian traditions. There is no indication of them ever even going to synagogue. She could have said that in several interviews, and she didn't. And if you're getting all that from the Hulu show, it shows that she came from rabbis, not that her grandparents or dad were religious at all. Based on the pictures of the grandparents, aunts, dad, etc, there was no "religious" dress, though of course things were somewhat different in the 50s and such.

      There is just no basis whatsoever for your comment, as far as I can see.

  18. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    "He father is Jewish, observant, from a famous rabbinical line. I know, Gwyneth is the last one you would suspect of being half-Jewish"

    It works this way: If your mother is halachically Jewish, you are born a Jew. "Religion" has nothing to do with it. Not my rules; it's the rules of the tribe.

    If a man wants his kids to be Jewish, all he has to do is to make sure they are born of a Jewish mother. You cannot be *born* Jewish if your mother was not halachically Jewish at the time of your birth, even if she was a beautiful and talented movie star like Blythe Danner, even if your father is Jewish and a descendent of rabbis.

    "Half-Jewish" without a Jewish mother=gentile. No matter what you "feel", which may or may not be unfortunate.

    *Anyone* may become a Jew, even if you're blond, or Japanese or black. Even if both your parents were Nazis. Even if you're not pretty or even particularly smart, whether or not you were born in Israel or speak fluent Hebrew. (You won't be accepted for conversion if you celebrate Christmas though, even if you celebrate Hanukkah too.)

    If you really, really want to, and then join yourself to a halachically Jewish community, study, pass the approval of a recognized beit din and immerse in a kosher mikvah under their auspices, you can become a Jew. If you are a woman, any children you give birth to thereafter will be considered *fully* Jewish, whether they feel like it or not, which may or may not be fortunate.
    This is not like becoming a Hollywood star, a US Marine, the Prince of Wales, or an American citizen. This is not like being legally qualified to practice law, drive a car, or to carry a concealed weapon. You cannot just do any of those things either, just because you feel like it. Indeed, it may not be possible for you to do any of those things, but you can become a Jew according to halacha.

    In the words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

  19. Hmmm... First, you conveniently forgot to mention 2 things: this is in _modern_ _rabbinical_ Judaism (that is the definition, that you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted)
    I am saying in _rabbinical_ because in Karaite Judaism you're Jewish if your father if Jewish. I am saying in _modern_ because the matrilineal descent rule has been added at the times of Ezra or at the times of the Roman occupation. So, the rule does not and did not apply to some patriarchs and historical figurs. And second, not all communities uphold the Halachic definition. Examples? Many.
    1) If you volunteerly converted to another religion, you are still Jewish according to Halacha. But can you make an alyah to Israel in this case? (Nope, you're not Jewish in the eyes of the state and in the eyes of many Jews including myself)
    2) There are many rabbinic communities: Juhuri, some Mizrachi jews and etc., who go either patrilinearly or by both parents
    3) Some communities (Syrian jews?) do not accept converts, although by Halacha, cobversions are fine.
    On top of this, on the individual level different people (halachically jewish) have diffent definitions of what Jewish means to them.

  20. >It works this way: If your mother is >halachically Jewish, you are born a >Jew. "Religion" has nothing to do with it. Not >my rules; it's the rules of the tribe.

    It is the rules of the rabbis from the early CE or from the times of the Ezra.

    Does it mean that the definition is currently upheld by every single member of the tribe?
    Of course not!

  21. By observant I mean he kept kosher, and observed Shabbos and holidays... (This implies synagogue attendance)...
    If this is not observant, I dont know what is... As for his intermarriage, well, you are not supposed to, but people sometimes fall in love and marry for love, you know... If you have a husband/wife whose religion is different from yours, you dont kick him/her out of the house
    for their Christmas celebration, right?

    >Based on the pictures of the grandparents, aunts, dad, etc, there was no "religious" dress, though of course things were somewhat different in the 50s and such.

    Hmm... what kind of religious dress do you want?

    1. Originally posted: August 25, 2011 at 10:04 PM

      As I said and you ignored, there is no indication of kashrut or Shabbat or anything more than token holiday observance. If you have evidence of your claims, I'm happy to look at it, but you've provided no proof. My understanding is base upon the complete lack of proof that was solicited and could have been offered in the show and various other interviews I found. There is no indication of anything more than casual affiliation once her family reaches the US.

      As for intermarriage, many interfaith couples choose to raise their children as Jews, and the holidays are very clearly designated as "Mom's holiday" or "Dad's holiday" rather than one that is a holiday of the entire family. It's not ideal, but it's done, and that doesn't appear to be the case here.

      As for religious dress, you know what I mean. Different communities tend to dress in certain ways. Or a kippah. Or tzitzit. Technically, what I'm wearing today could be worn by any person. But because it's a jean knee-length skirt and t-shirt with 3/4 sleeve shell underneath, most Jewish people would be quick to label me as an orthodox Jew. And the odds are good that's true when I see other girls dressed as I am.

      As for the Karaite comments, the Karaites have long been considered heresy by orthodox Judaism. Please don't discuss it here any further. And if you're the person posting karaite pages onto my Facebook page, don't ever do it again.

  22. I can't provide any kind of proof, because I obviously dont know her personally.
    The best I can come up with are unreliable google links. That her father is Jewish - almost certainly,
    that he was observant - disputed, I was under the impression, from the articles such as below (see last paragraph)
    I can't provide any kind of proof, because I obviously dont know her personally.
    The best I can come up with are unreliable google links. That her father is Jewish - almost certainly,
    that he was observant - disputed, I was under the impression, from the articles such as below (see last paragraph)

    I might be wrong though...
    Even if one is non-observant, that does not mean he can't have a strong sense of jewish identity.

    I might be wrong though...
    Even if one is non-observant, that does not mean he can't have a strong sense of jewish identity.

  23. I can't think of any Jews, secular or observant who would start celebrating Christmas as a _personal_ religious holiday just because their wife/husband is Christian. It is more about giving your significant other something for Christmas (because for them it's a holiday) and sharing a holiday meal together. So in any case it is "Mom's holidays" and "Dad's holidays". .
    More, I can't think of any interfaith couples (of whatever religious backgrounds) where both would equally practise both religions, either one converts (then it is no longer an interfaith couple) or there are "my holidays" and "your holidays", the kids then are either given a clear religious identity from the start or are raised agnostic, presuming if they would like to become more religious later on they would choose one (not both) when they grow up.

  24. The Karaites are Jews, the Karaism is heresy. By Rambam, they are to be treated "like babies taken captive by non-Jews, they cannot be punished for their wayward behavior, because it is the result of their parents’ influence Regarding their halachic status, the rabbis came up with a clevel solution here: a person whose mother is a Karaite Jew is recognized as Jewish by orthodox judaism, and vice versa - a Jew whose father is a Rabbinic Jew is recognized as Jewish by Karaites. (That's to deal with one being patrilineal, another matrilineal)
    No, I am not the person posting on facebook, never seen your page, I just read your blog... If the topic is unpleasant, will honor this request and drop it here.

  25. I've only seen some wear a kippah full-time (a kippah and tzitzit?), some do, some dont. The ones fully in black are haredi or chasidim... If I had to guess, you probably joined a chasidic community. Then yes, but they are on the conservative side of the orthodox, to me that's like a different world. To me, in a gathering the one in black coat/suit is usually a rabbi or a mohel. :)

  26. Ugh. I don't like the tone in this post or so many of these comments.
    First of all, Paltrow would be considered Jewish by Reform and Reconstructionist movements! And since the mother is then Jewish, the children are Jewish.
    I think the biggest problem I have with the Orthodox (and occasionally Conservadox) movements is the "More Jewish-er than you" attitude. I see it as the Jewish version of holier than thou. Just because you made an orthodox conversion doesn't mean people who were born reform are not Jews! And even that doesn't matter, as it is a tenet of Judaism to treat all people with love and respect. I was always taught that ALL Jews stood at Sinai, not just the ultra observant!

    Also, it bugs me that people seem to ignore the inherent hypocrisy that frowning upon both intermarriage and non-observant/non-traditional Jewish families brings. People who decry intermarriage also seem to be those with the chutzpah to wring their hands at the "diminishing" number of Jews. And yet, snubbing those families (families like the Paltrow family, or any number of families with one Jewish parents) who are non-traditionally Jewish mean those children grow up with the idea that Judaism isn't welcoming or accepting. Which of course leads them to not marry other Jews or raise Jewish families, which gives more ammunition to the anti-intermarriage crowd. At least consider where those actions lead!

    Also, although I have two (born) Jewish parents, they always taught me that the rule that the mother makes children Jewish wasn't exclusionary. It was an early act of feminism in the fallout of diaspora---rabbis realized that as people were fleeing, women would be especially vulnerable, and unlike the traditional attitude of shunning women who were raped and their bastard offspring, Judaism would include those children as part of the tribe. It was never meant to *exclude* the children of Jewish fathers! That is later rabbinic decree, and not all Jews agree with it.

    1. Originally posted: August 31, 2011 at 4:43 AM

      Tsipora: As I stated several times in these comments, the Reform movement doesn't simply require that a person have one Jewish parent. If the Jewish parent is the father, there are extra steps that must be taken in order to be considered Jewish by the reform movement. Based on what I've been able to locate, that doesn't seem to be the case here. Therefore, Paltrow would not be Jewish, and therefore her children too, in any Jewish movement.

      Personally, I don't believe in "snubbing" these interfaith families. They should be welcomed warmly and given all the resources we can find. If they want to be Jewish, be Jewish. And if you don't want to be Jewish, don't pretend to sit on a fence. In other words, don't pussyfoot around and give children mixed messages. All they do is water down both religions and look like a noncommittal fool when their children grow up and realize how inconsistent their parents were.

  27. > If the Jewish parent is the father, there are >extra steps that must be taken in order to be >considered Jewish by the reform movement.

    Why "the father"? Regardless of whether it is the mother or the father, the kid must be raised with a Jewish identity in order to be considered Jewish. So it is possible to be Jewish by the Orthodox criteria, but not by the Reform.

    >Based on what I've been able to locate, that >doesn't seem to be the case here.

    Do you know the actress's family personally? Are there any trustworthy sources? (i.e documentary/biographers/historians). If not, what could one possibly locate?

  28. >If they want to be Jewish, be Jewish. And if >you don't want to be Jewish, don't pretend to >sit on a fence... All they do is water down >both religions and look like a noncommittal >fool

    We are not a religion, we are a people. Have no idea whether the guy was observant or secular, but one can have a strong Jewish identity without being religious. The founders of the state of Israel were mostly secular, but you bet they had a strong sense of Jewish identity! Btw, Theodor Herzl (the founder of zionism) married someone who was an offspring of intermarriage.

    1. Originally posted: August 31, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      I've answered that question above. Primarily interviews with the actress herself and her own words about her upbringing. For instance, how she never says she was raised Jewish or calls herself Jewish, just that they celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays and are descended from Jews. Many times she could have just called herself Jewish, and I haven't seen a single instance where she did. It doesn't appear that she considers herself Jewish, just descended from Jews.

    2. Originally posted: August 31, 2011 at 6:46 PM

      Anonymous, I don't know where you're going with this argument. You're not going to convince me of anything, and I'm not going to convince you of anything. We're both entitled to our opinions. I wish you well, but perhaps this blog is not where you belong.

  29. >For instance, how she never says she was raised >Jewish or calls herself Jewish

    Maybe they (Gwyneth and the father) adhere to the classical matrilineal definition, that's why she never calls herself Jewish.

    >just that they celebrated both Jewish and >Christian holidays


    Maybe she meant it in the same way as she celebrated both parents birthdays: true both are celebrated, but a birthday is a personal holiday for only one parent.

    It is extremely unlikely for anyone (even more unlikely if that anyone is Jewish) to celebrate holidays from more than one religion as personal religious holidays. Yet, it is possible to celebrate holidays from more than one religion in a household, if there are members from more than one religion in a household. Forget intermarriage, imagine a household of roommates from more 2 or 3 religions. Does it mean that each one celebrates holidays from all 3? Of course not, just that each invites others for his/her own religious holiday meals.

    1. Originally posted: August 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM

      Not unlikely at all in a family. I know dozens of people in my own life who celebrated all holidays of two religions as a family. It was very secular and was considered getting "the best of both worlds." In fact, you should check out the official Sunday School curriculum of Unitarian Universalists. They are taught Jesus, Buddha, atheism, paganism, Judaism, Thomas Jefferson, and every other kind of religion/philosophy. People are strange creatures, and they can compartmentalize very well.

  30. >Also, although I have two (born) Jewish >parents, they always taught me that the rule >that the mother makes children Jewish wasn't >exclusionary

    That makes the two of us :)
    Same, and was told it is meant to be inclusive, not exclusive. (i.e to include the kids whose father could have been non-Jewish, rather than to exclude the kids with non-Jewish mothers)

    More, until very recently it was not possible to be half-Jewish on the father's side. Excluding adoptions (which happenned within communities), in order to be raised in a Jewish family with a Jewish father, the father must have first married the mother. As there were no civil marriages and no co-habitation, for that they could only be married in a religious ceremony. A Jew and a non-Jew could not wed, hence the mother must have been Jewish, either by birth or by conversion.

  31. >I don't know where you're going with this > >argument.

    True, aren't going anywhere :) So, lets leave it at this :)

    > I wish you well, but perhaps this blog is not
    > where you belong.

    I actually enjoy reading the blog. Unfortunately can't say the same about all the posters, some comments seem harsh and opinionated

    >I know dozens of people in my own life who >celebrated all holidays of two religions as a >family

    Extremely strange...Dont know any...Would guess none of them are Jews. Even the most secular Jews stop at celebrating Christian holidays.
    Reason? Some say - maybe we are not very religious anymore, but our ancestors died for this....

    1. Originally posted: August 31, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      Maybe Southern secular Jews are different? LOL Definitely know people with Jewish parents who did that growing up. And even if one parent didn't personally celebrate, they thought it was important that the kids get to celebrate all the holidays to get all the childhood fun and "magic" possible. I don't know your age, but perhaps it's a generational thing as we get further and further away from the survivor generation? Seems to start breaking down at the point when the grandkids have children.

  32. ~30, so we are 5-10 years apart. Might be geographical or generational :)