Monique BentieParticipantAugust 13, 2022 at 8:52 pmPost count: 2
I am not even sure if this forum is still active, but if anyone reads this, I would love to hear your thoughts.
I was born and raised a Jew. Sometimes my family would attend a reform synagogue, sometimes conservative… whatever synagogue happened to be closest to the house we were living in at the time.
My husband even converted to Judaism (reform) before we married, because I felt so strongly that a family should only have one religion.
But here I am, 10 years and 4 kids later, very seriously considering converting to Catholicism. I am already signed up for RCIA. It took me about 6 months to even admit my thoughts to my husband, and he nearly fell off his chair when he realized I was serious. He would be fine and supportive of my decision since he grew up as a Catholic. We have both found reform and conservative Judaism to be empty and lacking G-d as a focus. And he would return back to the Church if I choose this route.
But my concern is with my children and my family.
My two older children have a very strong Jewish identity. Even though we have stopped going to synagogue for the last 2 years, we still keep kosher style and I make challah and light the candles on Friday, and we celebrate all the major holidays. The other 2 children are too young to fully understand. Has anyone gone through this process with children? How did they handle it? Can we really keep our family’s Jewish traditions and be Catholic? Or is that too confusing for kids?
My second concern is with my parents, siblings and grandmother. My grandmother is really the matriarch of the family, and she always tells me she prays to G-d that she will be alive to make it to my son’s Bar Mitzvah. My son just turned 9, and I am getting a lot of pressure and questions regarding his Jewish education. My grandmother and my father will be very upset if we become Catholic.. I am also expected to host the upcoming high holiday meals at my house. Does anyone have any thoughts or encouraging words on how to best deal with family/parents that will not be supportive?
I feel like I am carrying a heavy secret. I can handle the burden of the secret. But I do not want my kids to feel like they have to keep a secret from their family. On the other hand, I don’t want them to tell my parents, because of the backlash.
I know this was a long post, and if you made it to the end, thank you. If you have any thoughts or words of encouragement, please send them my way.
andreasiosephusParticipantAugust 17, 2022 at 6:58 pmPost count: 1
Hi Monique – that is an incredibly difficult situation. It is one thing to become Catholic from a Jewish background when only you have to keep the secret, but it is quite different with kids.
G-d’s utterly limitless and incarnate Wisdom will deliver you, though no one knows how yet. I know a person whose graces after Baptism were such for several months that immediate family were given the blessing of accepting their conversion on account of absolutely glowing in terms of mood and life changes during those months of grace (extended family was another matter, however). One can never hope too much.
In terms of being Jewish and Catholic very generally – from my experience I still celebrate high holidays (it gets tricky when Good Friday and Pesach align if you’re in the Roman rite, but you may ask a dispensation if you are inclined), and intend to continue. I appreciate lit candles on Fridays and I do not feel any obligation to lose any aspect of my identity. However, I grew up without much religion and without many of the religious customs, but this much has been my experience – however, it has not been with kids.
May Our Lady Seat of Wisdom and Yeshua’s most wise foster father Yosef HaTzaddik obtain by their intercession the wisdom to act as G-d wills you to.
Will pray for your family and ask prayers on your behalf!
Monique BentieParticipantAugust 20, 2022 at 8:51 pmPost count: 2
Thank you for your kind words and your support and prayers!
How interesting to hear of your acquaintance and the effect of the graces after Baptism. That gives me hope. And thank you for sharing your experience of practicing both Catholicism from a Jewish background.
markParticipantSeptember 24, 2022 at 4:21 pmPost count: 20
Nice reading about you! I also really like the response of Andreasiosep Hus, and I realize my response may be too late to help, if that were even possible.
Your dilemma obviously is very hard. I am Jewish and a practicing Hebrew Catholic–though my journey is a bit different–and I am married with four young adult children and two grandchildren. I think if you demonstrate to your children that you not only will keep but even intend to intensify your family’s Jewish traditions and education, including celebrating the Bar Mitzvah, they may eventually accept and share or at least tolerate your faith in the Truth about the world and Judaism itself–the fulfillment of Judaism–Jesus Christ.
The Association of Hebrew Catholics offers many opportunities and ideas on living your life fully as a Jew. For example, tomorrow, the AHC Saint Louis Havurah is celebrating Rosh HaShanah 2022 on Zoom. Sounds like you may be hosting your family, though.
Objectively, the best and fullest way to live Judaism is to follow Christ, and His grace will prevail!
I wish and pray the very best for you and your family in this very difficult transition.
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