You and your partner may have cleared the hurdles, had the difficult conversations, and put in the world to build a lasting interfaith relationship. But you may still be facing challenges – but this time not within your relationship, but outside of it altogether.
As a Jewish-Gentile couple, one or both of you may have experienced moments of feeling unwelcome within the other’s community. Maybe it was at a synagogue or mosque, a Bible study, or a community gathering.
Even though more than half of all Jewish marriages are to non-Jews and 70 percent of all Jewish romantic partnerships are with non-Jews, social snubs, dirty looks, or blatant rude verbiage may have you feeling like an abnormal outsider. You may be asking, “If we’re in the majority, why do we feel like a minority in these religious settings?”
Despite the growing normalcy of Jewish-Gentile relationships, communities don’t always adapt to cultural shifts in their social spheres. Changes to traditions or past precedents can be perceived as threats to the entire community and treated as such. The resulting reactions can create an incredibly hostile environment that makes you and your partner want to head for the door.
If you’ve found peace with your relationship, why can’t others? There may be several reasons to explain (not excuse) these hostile reactions in both Jewish and Gentile religious institutions.