Inter-faith and inter-racial marriages are the new norm in the 21st century, but it would be naive of us to think that these unions no longer face unusual challenges. Many of my friends have strived to blend their traditions, but not without some very difficult discussions with extended families, who of course will want to weigh in– especially when children come into the mix.
I am all for mixing things up, but I do think that couples need to have some serious discussions about how they will handle religion, and passing on culture, heritage, and language skills to their children. These are not the kinds of talks you want to put off until after a child is actually born. Rather, before you ever walk down the aisle, you need to have a candid discussion with your partner about the things that matter most to you about your own beliefs and culture.
Unfortunately, in divorce situations, buried issues about religion often rear their ugly head. In many of the separation or custody agreements I draft for clients, we now have to stipulate the religion the child will continue to be raised in until s/he attains the age of majority. We often stipulate if a party needs to pay for religious schools and any special events, such as a Bar Mitzvah. Here’s a recent article I was quoted in for the Post about this subject: