Interfaith Community: Why it Matters

 

For the second week in a row, it looks like our interfaith community is going to be snowed out on Sunday. While getting up on Sunday mornings sometimes feels like a sacrifice, now I find myself pining to return, and frustrated about the cancellations. I often describe myself as an interfaith zealot. Why? I grew up on the margins of Jewish life: always a little different, a little suspect, because of my Christian mother. But in our interfaith community, all families are on equal footing, all parents have equal standing, all children are equally welcome. Everyone takes part in our rituals. This radical inclusivity is powerfully seductive for me, after a lifetime of feeling like a religious outsider.

The interfaith families in our community range across a spectrum in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, ideology. We are atheists and God-lovers, liberals and conservatives. But our common bond–the shared condition of having created an interfaith family, the desire to build something joyous out of our differences, the determination to see dual religious heritage as something positive and enriching rather than simply as a problem–this bond thrills me.

When we do not meet, I think of all we are missing. Last week, my seventh-grader was supposed to lead our Tu Bishvat gathering with his “Coming of Age prep” class. This week, we were supposed to hear from our Rabbi and Minister about the trip they just took to Israel with their friend, Imam Yaya Hendi, and students from Georgetown. My husband, who once lived in a seminary in Haiti, was supposed to say the Lord’s Prayer in Haitian Creole for us. And the children were supposed to file up to drop smooth stones into the bowl of concerns as we think of the people of Haiti. My teenage daughter was supposed to work, as she does each week, reading stories and helping with crafts in the kindergarten classroom. And we were supposed to schmooze and eat bagels together, and sing together to our rocking house band.

So I’m hoping the deep snow melts soon, and I can return quickly to my community, to my beloved motley crew of non-joiners, reluctant religionists, visionaries, brilliantly cynical secularists, and passionate mystics. We call ourselves the Interfaith Families Project because we are building the community as we go along, never sure exactly where we are going to all end up. All I can tell you is that wherever we are going, that is where I want to go.

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4 Comments on “Interfaith Community: Why it Matters”

  1. Martha Katz Says:

    Whither you all are going, I want to go with you.


  2. I love your description all in the subjunctive. For me, it was just as good since I never get to go. I wish I did, though. My son is heading toward his bar mitzvah and I would give anything to be part of your interfaith community.

    Your husband knows Creole!

  3. MB Says:

    Sue, we were just saying the same thing last night as we realized that we were going to be snowed out again. These cancellations leave me profoundly disappointed and feeling disconnected. But it also makes me realize that this means I have found a place for our interfaith family where I feel so connected, so comfortable, and so at home that missing it effects me deeply. Here’s hoping the snow melts really fast and we get out of this weekend snowfall pattern so we can meet again soon.

  4. Judy BF Says:

    The desire to build something joyous out of differences…beautiful. xo


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