In our previous exchange, John (@Sirthinks) and I touched upon many issues couples in or contemplating interfaith marriages face. These include compromise, respect, upholding traditions, love, and family complications. In his summary, he talks about parental expectations and his experiences. Coming from a traditional Jewish family, I certainly can relate.
I was raised what would be considered Modern Orthodox, but as an adult, my theology and practise has drifted. I do not maintain a lot of the traditions with which I was raised because it was no longer right for me for a variety of reasons. I cannot be Shomer Shabbat (Sabbath observant) when I work with non-profit, community, and activist organizations that have important events on Saturday. As an avid photographer, I do not want to miss photo ops that fall out on Jewish holidays – with the exceptions of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which I spend with my family out of respect to them.
I maintain some of the dietary laws because I want to. I simply would not feel right eating pork or shellfish. Others I am less strict about, such as combining meat and dairy (which I don’t do much anyways because of my aversion to cheese). Again, it is my choice. Like John points out, we have to make our own ways and make sure we are doing what we do for us, not for our parents.
Do I do some things to placate my folks? Certainly. We all do. We have to honour and respect our parents. It’s in the Torah. We do not necessarily have to obey them, though. I know my parents would prefer I marry a Jewish man. If I had married a non-Jew in my early 20s, there likely would have been more family friction than if I married one now. They would have been concerned about my traditions slipping away and about how the children would be raised. Now, it is not so much of an issue.
So again, the bottom line is indeed compromise. As we get more set in our ways as we, ahem, mature, this is always a challenge. Can love conquer all? If it is true, unselfish love, I think it can.