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Saturday 18 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Daudi Okelo and Bl. Jildo Irwa

Attending a Catholic college but becoming Jewish

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/04/15


This is an interesting meditation by the daughter of a mixed-faith family—but it seems to me this shows the potential pitfalls of choosing to not choose a faith for your children:

Growing up in Harrison, New York, 10 minutes outside the Bronx, everyone I knew was Italian, Jewish or both.
Mine was a pretty secular home, run by an Italian-Catholic mother and a Canadian-Jewish father. We had a Christmas tree and a menorah. I ate chicken scarpariello and bagels and lox. I had an Italian grandfather with shiny veneers and a pinky ring and a Jewish grandmother with an awesome kugel recipe and a stack of haggadot. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was proud of my interfaith heritage, though — I was almost completely unaware of it. I went to a Jewish preschool, but when I was a sophomore in high school, I took a World Religions class — it mandated a trip to a house of worship outside each student’s circle of familiarity. I chose a tiny white Episcopal church, across from a park I’d played at as a child. My first trip to church was on Pentecost, so the church had hired a quartet of sharply dressed old men, all with very white hair, to play horn instruments. I was ecstatic. I loved church! I returned the next week only to be deeply disappointed by the lack of big band jazz standards. I was also uncomfortable with the discussion of Jesus dying for my sins. I articulated my confusion to a friend. I liked the idea of church, but there were some things that irked me. She stated what should have been obvious: I believed in one almighty Old Testament God? Heaven and not hell? An intentional omission of Jesus Christ? Judaism was my answer, though I didn’t really understand it until later. That is, until I went to Catholic school.

She recounts how attending Boston College, ironically, connected her to her Jewish roots. And she then concludes:

We’re a comfortably interfaith family — but where does that leave me, a young woman who’s chosen one faith for herself? Without a Jewish mother, there are large swaths of the Jewish community that will never embrace me. I always loved decorating a Christmas tree with my parents, but when I have a home of my own, I simply won’t have one. Choosing sides hurts, and living in the middle aches, too. When will I be proud of my background? Or even just be comfortable with it? It could be BC. It could be Boston. But it also could be me, forever caught in the in-between.

Read more. 

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