Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
September 26, 2006 -NEW YORK- Everyone knows that marriage isn't easy. Finding a spiritual balance while navigating one another's religious beliefs and
cultural traditions can test the relationship of even the best interfaith couples. In Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner's Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family, author Jim Keen explores these challenges as he shares with
readers his own journey as a Christian father helping his Jewish wife raise their two daughters in the Jewish faith.
Keen's engaging narrative, which is often funny and always inspiring, will resonate with interfaith families of all backgrounds. He begins with his early
courtship of his future wife, Bonnie, and how the then "wet-behind-the-ears" college freshman struggled to understand the Hebrew and Yiddish words that
slipped into her speech. He later recounts their difficulty in dealing with disapproving family members when they announced their engagement, and his
lifelong commitment to learning the religion of his wife and children.
Children of interfaith couples are often conflicted over a perceived need to choose one parent's religion over that of the other, or simply choose to
celebrate neither religion. In the chapters devoted to parenting, Keen recounts the deliberate decisions he and Bonnie have made to avoid this dilemma,
enabling them to raise their children with a clear Jewish identity without compromising his deep felt connection to his Protestant faith. They exemplify
how even the trickiest of spiritual dilemmas, such as Christmas and Jewish High Holy Day observance, can be resolved through communication and sensitivity.
The book provides helpful suggestions and solutions for all interfaith couples. Each chapter includes a postscript written by professionals who work with
interfaith families as an addition resource. Above all, Keen encourages couples to embrace, not despair, their differences-advice which he himself has
found to be spiritually fulfilling. He writes, "People can work around their religious and cultural differences and live to tell about it. They may also
find their lives exquisitely enhanced. How often do we get a chance to learn about, moreover become a part of another culture? Many people view that as a
chance to broaden their minds."
Jim Keen graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 with a degree in Communication. He wrote Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner's Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family to demonstrate that there are workable solutions to one of the
biggest issues facing the Jewish community. He is a columnist for InterfaithFamily.com, the Detroit Jewish News, the Atlanta Jewish Times, and the Ann
Arbor Family Press. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and two daughters.