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Customs and Traditions

Post-Conversion, Honoring Family in Ceremony

Hi Knotties, I'm a newbie and this is a religion issue so please be kind! I am struggling with some issues with customs in my ceremony and would love some input.
I grew up Protestant, but--with my family's full support--I chose to convert to Judaism. Next year I am marrying a Conservative Jewish man (who has some very Orthodox Jews in his family as well). Of course we plan on having many Jewish traditions in our ceremony, but I am struggling with the fact that our family's customs and traditions are very different and therefore this is still sort of an interfaith ceremony.
My family has begun expressing (albiet carefully and reluctantly and usually only after a drink) the desire to see something in the ceremony that represents our family. I don't resent this at all; I care deeply about embracing a Jewish ceremony, but also honoring the culture, customs and traditions that I grew up with and my friends and family embrace/identify with. My family and friends are already dealing with a great deal of Hebrew prayers, a glatt kosher reception, and a lot of other very foreign things, and I am still dealing with proving myself committed enough to Judaism for the more reluctant members of my fiance's family.
How can I incorporate some familiar Christian (or secular?) ceremony traditions without alienating my new family, my rabbi, and my fiance?
Thanks gals!

Re: Post-Conversion, Honoring Family in Ceremony

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You'll have to ask your FI, FILs, and rabbi what they would be okay with before you incorporate any non-Jewish religious elements into your wedding. 

    Jews do not have uniform attitudes towards non-Jews or non-Jewish traditions.  The very Orthodox Jews in his family may strongly oppose any non-Jewish traditions or even see your wedding as "not validly Jewish" if you include any non-Jewish traditions.  Conservative Jews may be less rigid, but they run the gamut from close to Orthodox to much more tolerant of non-Jewish traditions.  So it really depends on individual attitudes.  Therefore I don't think anyone here can really give you more specific advice.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Jen4948 said:
    You'll have to ask your FI, FILs, and rabbi what they would be okay with before you incorporate any non-Jewish religious elements into your wedding. 

    Jews do not have uniform attitudes towards non-Jews or non-Jewish traditions.  The very Orthodox Jews in his family may strongly oppose any non-Jewish traditions or even see your wedding as "not validly Jewish" if you include any non-Jewish traditions.  Conservative Jews may be less rigid, but they run the gamut from close to Orthodox to much more tolerant of non-Jewish traditions.  So it really depends on individual attitudes.  Therefore I don't think anyone here can really give you more specific advice.
    I agree with this.  In addition, OP, there are two boards under Cultural Boards on which you may want to repost this question.  There is a board for Jewish Weddings and a board for Interfaith Weddings.  
  • Thank you for the advice. His family alone runs the gamut and I should hear everyone's viewpoint. I'm just not sure how to approach it. I have now posted in the Cultural Boards--thanks for the direction!
    MobKaz
  • I ditto PPs that you need to check with your FI, FILs, and rabbi and see what they're OK with doing or adding to the ceremony to have some "Christian" elements in it.

    You could do New Testament Bible readings, which are obviously not Jewish but which could be considered interfaith (cf., 1 Cor. 13; Romans 12:1, 9-21; 1 Peter 4:8-10 -- none of those reference Jesus or Christ, but they're NT, and will be familiar to your family).

    However -- I have to point out that, if your family is truly supportive of your conversion, they would understand if the ceremony is entirely Jewish. This is your faith now, and they need to realise that. 

    DH converted to Catholicism while we were engaged, from non-denominational Christian/Lutheran. His grandmother was very, very opposed to our full Catholic Mass wedding, and demanded there be "Lutheran" elements to it. We refused -- Catholicism is our faith, and our ceremony reflected that. She wasn't happy about it, but she eventually shut up about it.

    Your family needs to realise that, going forward, the traditions you share with them, religiously, won't be the same -- your children won't be baptised or dedicated, they won't be confirmed, they won't go to VBS. 

    I can understand them wanting their faith to be represented, but they need to not push on this, because it's your faith and your FI's that control the religious aspects of the wedding.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    doeydomonkeysip
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