I think we’ll just squirm. That was my daughter’s reaction when I read the ad for the Jewish Film Festival that begins next week, 1-17 March 2019 in Chicago. We will cry, we will laugh, we will squirm, we will cheer I read. Our family was one of the families interviewed during the making of the documentary. Leaps of Faith, which is one of 43 films being screened in the festival this year. We don’t know if we are in the final cut, but little girl and I cringe at the thought of actually making it in. We’ll see, and soon.
Though the thought of seeing and hearing ourselves on screen is a jarring one, we were glad to lend our perspective. Observing a religion can be difficult enough for parents of the same faith. How much more difficult it is for people of different faiths. Yet, it happens all the time. There are more children in the US being raised with only one Jewish parent than there are with two. That was our family for fourteen years until I converted to Judaism when our son was 14 and our daughter was 12 years old.
From the outside, we were considered interfaith because I was Catholic and my husband was Jewish. But at home, we were a Jewish family. I went to Mass regularly, but our family holidays and traditions were Jewish. We knew our children would end up making their own choices about faith when they were adults, everyone does, so we wanted them to have a firm foundation in one faith so that their identity was fully aligned in one tradition. If they select a different tradition (like I eventually did), then at least they know from whence they came, and they have a relationship with God.
Interestingly, Israel means to struggle with God. Jews and Christians come from Israel. Jacob was Israel, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, the modern day country of Israel is important to both. And we struggle. We struggle with God, with ourselves, and with each other. Our consolation is that we are made in God’s image, all of us. God is love, and all who live in love, live in God. All of us.