Jul 12, 2011

Required Reading: Interfaith Edition

This particular post may not apply to everyone, but if you are in an interfaith relationship (well, more specifically a Christian/Jewish one), I wanted to share a few books that I found to be very helpful. Also I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, Blogger's acting funny tonight.

So first things first: the ceremony. I'm using Celebrating Interfaith Marriages: Creating Your Jewish/Christian Ceremony by Rabbi Devon Lerner. The book provides different options and ideas for creating a balanced ceremony that respects both religions' traditions (and families, a big consideration). She includes some sample ceremony ideas, as well as some options for readings. Plus it has info for all branches of Christianity, whether Catholic, Baptist, whatever. Though we have some rules set by our officiants, the book is really helpful for putting together the rest of our ceremony.

And then once you're married, Joan C. Hawxhurst's Interfaith Family Guidebook is a good resource for what comes next. It explains some of the issues interfaith couples may face, some of which never really occurred to me. Plus, it really stresses the importance of open discussion (ie, being able to admit to each other you might just have a complete bias) as well as how to make the discussions productive. It also goes into how holidays can be celebrated, and how to manage family, as interfaith issues can cause problems among family members. It also includes lots of additional resources, like books or websites, for interfaith couples. Just a note, it's out of print, so you do have to get it used Amazon.

If you happen to be in a relationship with someone Jewish (or I guess also if you're interesd in Judaism or Jewish yourself), I highly recommend The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism by Rabbi Ben Blech. This book was so interesting. The author goes through the basic beliefs of Judaism, like Jewish beliefs on Creation, marriage, family, and kosher laws, as well as details the many different Jewish holidays. He tells tons of little parables, includes lots of history and tradition, and the "whys" behind things. I especially love how meaningful and symbolic so many elements of Judaism are. As a pretty strong Catholic I'm not looking to convert, but I found so many things in this book that enhanced or strengthened my current beliefs. It also helped me form a mental outline of which particular holidays we could celebrate, and how.  I've already warned Mr. B's family that we're taking Hanukkah this year!
Conversely, the Idiot's Guide to Catholicism kind of sucked. It lacked the real-life application like the Judaism book had, and really just went into lectures on the politics and history of the Church, Vatican 2, whatnot, with surprisingly not enough actual Jesus. Beyond the New Testament, I can't really suggest a good guide for Christian/Catholic stuff right now, but hey, the NT has all you really need, right?

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