What’s a (non-Jewish) dad to do?


Interfaithfamily.com, run by the indefatigable Ed Case out of Boston, offers a wealth of resources for intermarried families looking to make Jewish choices.

Two High Holiday essays on the site are particularly noteworthy.

As a non-Jewish man married to an Orthodox woman, Birger Stamperdahl isn’t sure of his role during the High Holidays. Before Passover he pitches in with house-cleaning, and dressing up for Purim is fun, but Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur take place in the synagogue, a place that is not his home.

He is not Jewish, and does not plan to convert. His wife is taking the key role in raising their son Orthodox.

In this essay,  he wonders how his relationship with his son will change as the years pass:

As Leif learns Hebrew, studies Torah, and ultimately has his bar mitzvah, will I find ways to participate in these activities as part of the family, or is that part of what I don’t get to do because I am not Jewish? As Leif starts going to services during the High Holidays because he is participating in the worship, will I simply stay at home?

Jim Keen, another Christian man married to a Jewish woman, navigates the High Holidays by focusing on them as family time

He, his wife and their daughters do tashlich together between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, dropping crumbs into a local lake and talking about what’s most important to them:

That’s what I have come to love about the High Holidays–they give us a specified time as a family to reflect each year. We all stay home from work and school on these days. When we are not at services, we spend time together as a family and think about ways to make the world and ourselves better.

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