Gentile wives brace for first Hanukkah feasts

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(RNS) Anne Coyle used to set the holiday table with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, but this year, she’s rolling up her sleeves in an attempt to make latkes and brisket. Cheered on by her husband and a support group for non-Jewish women raising Jewish children, Coyle’s first stab at a traditional Hanukkah meal has […]

  • Alice Stone

    I wonder what the effect will be on the Jewish population for all those children from interfaith marriages who are not raised Jewish and even though they eat latkes on Chanukah they are also baptized. A gentile does not know how to raise a Jewish child and impart the importance of Jewish heritage. I have two children marrying gentiles. It scares and hurts.

  • Carolyn Barker

    What does the Torah say in this regard? Is there some comforting guidance you can lean on? Can the Rabbi be of help to you? Do not bear this anxiety alone..
    As a Mother and a Grandmother, My heart goes out to you. WE always want a good fulfilled life for our children….and I also believe that a Gentile does not know how to raise a Jewish child..not like an experienced, traditional Jewish Mom, who had all the loving guidance, personal instruction, and who is steeped in the ancient traditions.
    But Love is Love..and a fine Mom is precious. Surely if the reverse were happening, and you had to raise a Christian child, it would not be a cakewalk, but if your heart were loving and you had some patience and a full soul of Love, you would raise a fine,fine G*D loving useful young person to be proud of. “Fear not,for, LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.”..

    Bear with them, pray for them, go gently and softly..your wisdom will guide you. Patience and Time WITH HUMAN KINDNESS.. and may they come to be a tremendous comfort in the way they love and respect your dear beliefs..wishing you many, many adorable, bright, loving and healthy Grandchildren.. Grandchildren, Ah-h-h the Jewels in the Crown of Motherhood!!

  • Alice Stone

    I fear for my people not for my children. They are strong loving children and will raise the same but not with my heritage among my people whose numbers are dwindling. Any child can be loved, Judiasm is not always loved or tolerated. What happens down the line?

  • Carolyn Barker

    Oh, I see what concerns you..Perhaps you underestimate the way many many people think and feel about Judiasm..I am not affiliated with any specific church just now..but I am a Christian woman, who is humbled by the Gospel and reveres and Honors the Old Testament.. The Jews ARE G*ds’ Chosen People..we Christians know this..My first heroine in high school was Golda Meir..I read her book “Golda” and was brought to my knees at her courage and self-sacrifice..What happens down the line?
    WE cannot know..but consider this old saying,
    “The Past is History,
    Tomorrow is a Mystery,
    Today is a GIFT,
    that is why they call it, The Present.”
    .. Further along we will know more..we will understand what we cannot understand just now.
    Blessings to you over this Holy Hannuka Season

  • Alice-

    I read your comments and I wanted to reach out and offer support. It is not easy when your children choose a life path different from the one that you expected, but you are not alone.

    My organization, the Jewish Outreach Institute, provides education and resources to interfaith and unaffiliated families, and helps the Jewish community to better welcome them in. I coordinate two programs: The Mothers Circle, which is featured in this article, and the Grandparents Circle, which offers support and resources for Jewish grandparents with intermarried children. I invite you to join our national listserve, an online forum which connects grandparents all over the North America and provides resources to enable them to nurture the Jewish identities of their grandchildren.

    If you would like more information about the Grandparents Circle or the Jewish Outreach Institute, please email me at I look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions!