Women, Religion, and Interfaith Families

Why have most founders of interfaith family communities been women? Historically, how has the male domination of religious institutions affected interfaith couples? And does the idea that an interfaith child must be defined by the religion of the mother (in Judaism) or the father (in Islam) make any sense given the reality of families with one parent, with two fathers, with two mothers, or with non-binary gendered parents?

These are a few of the questions I explore in a new essay written for Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, as part of their project on “Women, Religion and the Family.” More than a dozen thought-provoking essays and interviews are posted on the Berkeley Center website, by Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant women writers. The project (which is co-sponsored by the World Faiths Development Dialogue) was designed “With the goal of building a knowledge base and promoting dialogue” by asking “a group of scholars, activists, faith and community leaders, and development practitioners to produce an original series of ‘think pieces’,” on the intersection of these topics, in order to “generate questions, explore curious topics, and suggest further study.”

It is worth sampling the diverse perspectives in these essays, and joining in the discussion on twitter with the hashtag #FaithFem.


3 Replies to “Women, Religion, and Interfaith Families”

  1. Coming from a family that’s shared two religions for generations, Muscogee creek ceremonial grounds and Christianity, I really appreciate your posts…

  2. I read your article…Fantastic!!! You raise such thoughtful questions and you are such a great writer in addition. And I realized that I fit right into your list of females…so feel free to include me whenever you need examples: Lauren Zinn started Jewbilation: Jewish Roots with Interfaith Wings and the school, Hebrew Play Group; both of these are now subsumed under ZinnHouse. It’s interesting to think about being part of a larger group of women leaders in the field of religion. I would really like to meet all these women. The closest I came to this feeling was when I read the book, Still Jewish. As a history, most of these women are gone. Your article is the sequel. Hey, Susan, let’s do a movie! speaking of which, I showed Rafael’s video to my students and they truly appreciated it. It also gave them a way of seeing how zinnhouse is similar and different from iffp. Speaking of which, I am still writing that book…and developing my ten principles for transforming religious education into a business consulting with religious leaders and training their teachers. website and logo updates int eh works. I actually got a business coach. I’ll keep you posted. Keep writing! and tell me when you’ll be in michigan.

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