Six Questions That Will Help You Plan Your Interfaith Wedding

By: Rebekah Rood

You’re engaged? Mazel tov! Planning a wedding can be both exciting and incredibly stressful. But it can be a whole different level of challenge when the wedding is going to join two people from different religious and cultural backgrounds. As specialists who coach interfaith couples through milestones like these, we know firsthand about these challenges—and […]

Mike and Victoria Steele’s Story

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

Tuvya: With us today are Victoria and Mike Stele. Victoria is a high school teacher and Mike is a lawyer from Southern California. Victoria, tell us a little bit about your family and spiritual background growing up. Victoria: I come from a really large Hispanic/Filipino family. My father was a Vietnam vet, hippie, married my Filipino/Hispanic mother. […]

Triggers for Jewish Gentile Couples Part 2

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

“Unequally Yoked” Patricia’s comment triggered an entirely different emotional response for Patricia. So, we were in a coffee shop when she said something about Joel, who is Jewish. “I’m not even sure I should be with him, because he’s an unbeliever,” she said. Patricia is a Gentile Christian. I was involved in their conversation because […]

Triggers for Jewish Gentile Couples Part 1

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

“Unbeliever”  We’re sitting in a coffee shop, all three of us.  Joel is Jewish. His girlfriend is Patricia, a Gentile Christian.  I was there, at their invitation.  They needed help from someone who could be a translator or an arbitrator.  They were having an ongoing cross-cultural argument.  “I’m not even sure I should be with him, because he’s an unbeliever.”  I looked at Patricia, as she said those words […]

Jewish-Gentile Couples: becoming an American majority

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

On May 11, 2021, the Pew Research Center published the findings of an eight-month survey among 4,178 Jewish Americans. Currently, 47% of all married non-Orthodox American Jews said their spouse is not Jewish. The Jewish intermarriage rates since 1980 were indicating the emerging trend.  Now we see that almost half of all American Jews are […]

Am Yisrael Chai

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

The People of Israel Live Survival is a Jewish core value. So, each year Israel honors those who gave their lives fighting for the State’s existence, followed by celebrations on Israel Independence Day (April 14 and 15, 2021). Chants erupt spontaneously along with singing, “Am Yisrael Chai” (“The People Israel Live”). Many consider the existence […]

Crossing Cultural Frontiers at Passover and Easter

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

We often remind our readers that all communication is cross cultural. That dynamic might be hard to see until you and your partner celebrate a meaningful family life-cycle event or a traditional holiday celebration. The close proximity of Passover and Easter often provide those opportunities for discovery. Marc and Sandy, a Jewish-Gentile couple, reported just […]

Seeing the World Differently

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

We all tend to judge other cultures as inferior to our own assumptions and core values.  The answer to ethnocentrism is to grow our understanding about the assumptions and values of another human being. Do that with mutual respect  and you have hope of finding spiritual harmony. Imagine someone whose culture is to drink coffee […]

Ron and Liessa’s Story

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

Tuvya:  Ron and Liessa Randle are a Jewish-Gentile couple from St. Louis, MO. Lisa is Jewish, and Ron is African American. They have two adult children and a growing crop of grandchildren. The Randles were married just 11 years after the landmark civil rights decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, Loving vs. Virginia (1967) that […]

Esther: Blessings of an Intermarriage

By: Tuvya Zaretsky

Jewish-Gentile couples cite the challenge of finding spiritual harmony as one of their most difficult obstacles to resolve. All spiritual beliefs are formed at the deep core level of personal culture. And while change at that seat of our values comes with difficulty, we are able to learn, grow, and then reform ideas that we […]