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Musings of Interfaith Marriage

Interfaith marriages are happening more and more often. I myself am in an interfaith marriage, and I must admit it has had its challenges. Trying to find a Rabbi to assist with our marriage ceremony was an eye opener for this Midwest girl. To be told that what we were doing (getting married out of our respective faiths) was wrong and that it was not supported by the Jewish community hurt, both me and my Jewish husband. (For the record we did encounter a few nice supportive Rabbis, but the nos, especially the one that said that he and no one that he knew would EVER perform such a ceremony, still sting.) And to have it put on my shoulders that, because of me, any children we have would be considered almost like second class Jews in a sense, if they were considered Jewish at all, was a hard pill to swallow. This sent me into a great deal of research. The general consensus is that the child can be ‘converted’ as a baby in the Reform sect and as part of their Brit Milah ceremony (ceremony for the coven with God preformed with males at 8 days old) and the Bris Bat (the baby naming ceremony for girls, also preformed at 8 days old).  I do know that the Reform sect is a much more accepting sect and that they welcome interfaith couples and families, and that that is the sect that we would have to belong to if we decide to join a synagogue.

I feel that it is harder if it is the man that marries out of the faith because to have ‘truly Jewish children‘ the mother must be Jewish. This future mother is not converting. It is something that I have put a great deal of thought into to be honestly. My sister-in-law converted when she married my husband’s oldest brother, so there is precedence. I believe that to convert, one must truly feel the calling to that religion. I do not believe that conversion should be done on a whim or to appease someone else. This is YOUR faith, YOUR beliefs. If you don’t believe in the faith to which you are converting, then it is a sham. Mind you, this is all just one humble Midwestern girl’s opinion.

Back to Jewish kids and a non-Jewish mommy. My husband and I believe in raising our children in both traditions. I say traditions because I am not particularly religions, and my husband is a non-practicing Jew. I believe in God and being a good person etc. but never got on the organized religion band wagon. Anyway, husband would like our children raised in the Jewish faith. That is fine with me, as long as I can take them to other religious groups to expose them to other cultures and to explain that just because people practice their faith different does not make it wrong or that we should be afraid of them or be mean to them. Having different faiths in the world makes the world a more beautiful place.

I have a link below to an article from a group called Inter Faith Family out of Boston. I am hit or miss on the articles that they post, mostly because as the non-Jewish partner of an interfaith union I do not always feel supported by the articles that they write. (Because it is almost always the Jewish partner who is writing it.) But this article had some nice points. So if you have the time, give it a read:

http://www.interfaithfamily.com/blog/iff/holidays/how-an-interfaith-wedding-couple-made-me-think-about-queen-esthers-marriage/

Best,

Peach

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Peach Fuzz

 

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A brief history of my experiences in therapy

After writing the latest chapter in Peach’s Engagement Tales I wanted to touch on seeing a therapist.

This is something that still holds a taboo for many. They don’t want to see a ‘shrink’. They don’t want others to think that there is something wrong with them, maybe they just don’t want to admit to themselves that there is something wrong.

What ever the reason, people avoid going to see a therapist. I, myself, think that seeing the right therapist can do wonderful things for a person. Some one who will not judge you for you decisions, a safe environment to talk, a non-involved third party to bounce thoughts off, someone to help you when you need it, and even when you don’t realize that you need it.

My freshman year of undergrad, I was pressured into seeing a therapist, and the woman that was assigned to me just rubbed me the wrong way. My first session with her she asked me why I wouldn’t cry in front of her. I told her that I only cried in front of less than five people. I did not trust her. She did cross stitch during our sessions and lets be honest that does not make a person feel like they are being provided a person’s undivided attention. I was only with her for a short period of time. During this time I found that I could easily manipulate her into thinking that I was fine, just a college freshman adjusting to being on my own for the first time. It worried me just how easy it was to tell her what she wanted to hear to end the therapy. I also noticed how well matched the other patients seemed to be with their therapists. I did not feel this was the case with me. The lesson here: Going to therapy when it is not your choice and/or you do not want to be there is a waste of everyone’s time and nothing productive is accomplished.

Therapist number the second one was during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of undergrad. I had had a serious emotional melt down. The vibe that I had gotten from my family growing up was rather British in the sense that it was Stiff Upper Lip and all that, but that there was ignoring of things that should have been red flags. I am not sure how much of that was just that I was always moody and emotional, and after a while it just normal and did not set off red flags at all anymore. My emotional outbursts, my depressive moods, something about that outburst struck a cord. It might have been the fact that, unlike when I ran away from home at 7 years old, at 20 with access to a car, I could really run away from home. My dad gave me a number to call to get set up with a therapist. The guy that I was assigned was nice, but I also think, looking back, that if I had gone to him for more than 3 sessions it probably would not have worked out. He was an older gentleman, I thought of him as a grandfather type, and he ran his practice out of the back of the house which he shared with his wife. That it was in his home and not a neutral medical/office building kind of gave me the creeps. He was very engaging, we talked about my studies, I was studying to be a Classicist at the time. I did a quick turn around,  the second session I felt good and put on a dress and makeup to go to the session. At the end of the trial period, he deemed me fit and not in need of further sessions. Lesson here: Make sure the therapist that you are paired with is someone you are comfortable with and that the setting for the sessions is also comfortable for you. If you are not totally comfortable you will not make progress.

I came by my third therapist about 5 or 6 months after moving to Boston and starting graduate school. I was having troubles after that first winter, the stress of really being on my own so far from home, working full time and attending grad school at night. I was with him off and on for three years, and currently stands as the third longest relationship I have had with a man, just recently passed by my relationship with my husband. I was seeing him during several difficult times in my life. After seeing him for a about 18 months, and after he had met my boyfriend (now my husband) he deemed me fit and ‘graduated’ me from my sessions. About 6 months later, I went back. I had suffered a great shock and felt the need to go back to seeing him for our sessions. This second time though I realized that I was not really going to make any further progress with him. I knew that I had more growing to do but that it would not be done with him. So, I stopped going after almost another year.

After the my fiance moved to New Jersey, hurricane Sandy hit, and following winter, and the depression I had sunken into, I sought help once again. This time I tried a female therapist again. My fourth therapist was an interesting person and I found great solace in seeing her each week. She taught me the tools and skills that I needed to grapple with my demons. With her, I was able to open up and express things that I had been hiding from for almost my entire life. To finally be able to open up and face things that I had been keeping inside for two decades was freeing. To be able to have a different view on what had happened, to look at it through a different light, and to be able to over come it was wonderful. I was given new tools to handle the problems that I had been battling with my entire life. I only wish that I had not had to leave her so soon. Her parting words to me were: Thank you for sharing your life with me. In that moment I realized just how deep what I had been doing was and why I had not had such successful relationships with my past therapists. I had not wanted to share all of my life, my story, with them. With her I was at the point that I needed to, and she responded in a way that allowed me to do so. To tell her my life story and know that it was safe.

I will always be grateful to her for that.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Peach Fuzz

 

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So, do you like it here?

Hello all my woodland creatures!

My apologies for my unexpected hiatus. It has been a busy several weeks for me. As you know, life has a habit of happening.

I have an especially heavy subject to talk about today. Well, heavy for me, anyway.

As you know, I grew up in the Mitten State, did my time in the Bay State, and now live in the Garden State. Anyone who has moved to a new place has heard that question: So, do you like it here? I have heard that question SO MANY TIMES since moving to the Garden State. I know that people are just trying to make conversation, and that they want to hear that I am enjoying their state that they take pride in being from. I get that, probably better than they do, actually. But, until recently, every time I was asked that question I would think, Well no, but that’s not what you want to hear; and I don’t want to say yes because I would feel like I was cheating on my home-state. Like I am saying: that this new place that I have only just moved to is BETTER than my home state where I grew up. And I can’t bring myself to do that. I love my Mitten State, even those crazy Yoopers that I only count when it helps my cause.

I am a Mitten Girl, through and through. I cheer for the Red Wings, the Lions, and the Tigers. I also cheer for the Celtics and the Bruins (though only when they are not playing the Pistons or the Red Wings respectively). I make casseroles and love Chicago style pizza. Most seafood makes me ill. Yeah, you try living anywhere on the East Coast and not being able to eat seafood. I have learned that I miss the softness that only Midwesterner’s seem to possess.

I have learned that while Garden Staters are boisterous bunch (seriously, you should see my in-laws at a family event), they are a good group of caring people. It has taken me the 4+ months since my wedding, and several temping assignments, to be able to see that, while a bit overwhelming at the start, these people are good people. Well most of them, for the sake of the Garden State, I am going to assume that my pain in the ass psycho downstairs neighbor is not from here, but there are people like that everywhere.

Today, while I was making my afternoon tea, (yes, I do that and Black Cherry Berry if you wanted to know), I was asked if I liked it here in the Garden State. Instead of my now standard: It’s growing on me response, I fumbled and actual thought about an honest answer. The conclusion that was reached was that I had not been here long enough to make a fair assessment of if I liked the state not. Having only been here barely over 6 months, I think that that is a fair assessment of the current situation.

In a conversation with my husband after this encounter, I came to another conclusion. It is not a matter of liking it better here than my home-state, it’s a matter of love vs like. I love my home-state. Hands down. No questions asked. I fell in love with the Bay State the first time I set foot in it. And Bean-town and I will always have a special relationship, as she holds many first of mine on my path to being a grown up. The Garden State and I have yet to figure our what our relationship is going to be as my life is still settling into place, and a future being determined. It will take a while for me to not feel like I was trapped into moving here with no say in the matter, and to accept that living this far away from my family yet so close to his is acceptable. Not sure either one will come easily.

But for now, I will gather more experiences before passing judgement on my feelings about the Garden State.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Peach Colored Wisdom

 

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First Interfaith Parenting Fear

I have had babies seriously on the brain since spending Christmas with my parents last week. And today I had my first honest to God interfaith parenting fear this afternoon.

My wonderful husband got me a new camera for Christmas and I was taking pictures of our Christmas tree. I love our little tree. I remembered when I was little laying under the Christmas tree staring up at the lights and ornaments. How beautiful it all was. I remember my parents taking us around at night to look at the lights on the other houses in the neighborhood. All these wonderful warm holiday memories.

In taking pictures of our tree, I took a picture of the ornament that my parents gave us for Christmas this year to celebrate our wedding in October. Then I took a picture of the ornament that I made using a left over wedding invitation and the remaining shards from our Groom Glass (that were not put into our mezuzah). I thought about how the Christmas tree is a tradition of my family and not that of my husband’s. And knowing that our children would be bris’ed, I had a sudden deep fear hit me, what if my children married Jewish partners and did not have a Christmas tree at all in their homes! That that part of my family tradition died out with my line.

I was almost in tears when I texted this realization to my husband, who was at work. The fear that my children might not celebrate Christmas hit me very hard. Now, I want to inform you that I do not have a strong religious upbringing. Christmas in my family is about traditions, more so than religion. The tradition of decorating the pine tree, and putting up lights on the house, family getting together to celebrate their love for each other and just spending time together. That is what Christmas is for me.

My husband being wise in many things, not the least of which is logic, tells me that we will celebrate our family holidays and our children in turn will celebrate them when they grow up because they are now their childhood traditions. If they grow up with a Christmas tree, and the tradition around it, they will continue that into adult hood.

I hope this to be true. I would really love to be able to share my family traditions with my children and my children’s children because they celebrate them too.

I guess this is the root fear of any interfaith mother or mother of a child who is marrying out of their faith.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Holiday, Peach Colored Wisdom

 

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Happy Happy Happy

Happy New Year one and all!

I have decided that today is the day that I break out my new Happy Light. I have mentioned in previous posts that I suffer from SAD. As a gift to myself this year I bought my first Happy Light (by verilux). This is day one, and I think it is not a day too soon. I have been finding myself getting into that seasonal funk again. Really I am not sure I actually ever got out of it.

So in light of the new year and the lack of sun I say, let the exposure begin!

I will be sure to keep you all posted on my progress.

Have a Happy and Healthy!

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Peach Fuzz

 

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Photography

As some of you may know I am also a semi-professional photographer. I say semi-professional because yes I have been paid once for my services and have been published countless times in my hometown news papers. Do I feel that I am up to snuff to start a studio … nope! But that’s okay, I enjoy the dabbling that I do. I do however need to get a photo editing program and a computer that can handle it. That being said I had a few shots that I took over the holidays that I wanted to share.

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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Peach Photos

 

Happy New Year!

A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

with love from Peach

New Years Eve 047

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Holiday

 

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