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Observing the Spring Holidays as a Jewish - Christian Interfaith Couple

Developing Spring Holiday Traditions in Jewish - Christian Interfaith Marriages

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The demands of celebrating Easter and Passover in spring can be potential sources of conflict for you as an interfaith married couple. The spring holidays can be even more difficult to handle when Passover and Easter overlap. Here are some suggestions for interfaith marriages dealing with the issue of differing spring holiday celebrations.

Both of you may have a sense of nervousness about how to handle your traditions of Easter and Passover. Part of your nervousness may stem from the historical Christian persecution of Jews during this time of year. One of you may feel guilt and responsibility, while the other could feel a sense of persecution and prejudice.

Tips for Interfaith Marriages

If you are like many other Jews and Christians, the spring holidays of Passover and Easter are central to your faith. As a result, the spring holidays make the challenge of a Jewish - Christian interfaith marriage more obvious. Many interfaith couples believe that it is easier for a Christian to accept Jewish traditions during the spring holidays than it is for a Jew to accept Christianity.

It is important that you do not deny either yourself or your spouse the opportunity to observe any of the traditions that are important to the two of you as individuals.

Make use of the spring holiday celebrations as an opportunity to know the different prayers, songs, and symbolism of Passover and Easter. Make time to learn about your spouse's faith.

Intermingling Traditions in Your Interfaith Marriage

Here are some spring traditions that both you and your spouse may enjoy together:

  • Say grace before and after each meal you share as a couple or family together.

  • Spring is the traditional clean up time. Take on some extra cleaning projects together.

  • Make pretzels together. The Christian spouse can enjoy eating the pretzels while the Jewish spouse can use the pretzels in the search for Chametz.

  • Read the story of the Giving Tree together. Share with one another about what it means to give of self. Compare Prices

  • Read the "Song of Songs 2:1-7" together.

  • Plant a garden together as a symbol of spring and new beginnings.

  • Read Hope for the Flowers together and share with each other the changes that you must each make in order to be reborn - beautiful and free as the butterfly. Compare Prices

  • Color and hide Easter eggs.

  • Wear new clothes, but only until some of your older clothes have been donated to local thrift stores.

  • Call or visit your grandparents on the day after Easter.

Passover

During Passover, the Jews celebrate both a historical event and their freedom as Jews. In most Jewish households, a Passover Seder is held which helps Jews relive the Exodus story and going from slavery to freedom.

Holy Week

The central theology of Christianity is told during Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday when Jesus returned to Jerusalem, Holy Week progresses through celebrating the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the Crucifixion on Good Friday, and ending with the Resurrection on Easter.

Remembering Shabbat

Many interfaith couples enjoy sharing the tradition of Shabbat. Shabbat is Hebrew for sabbath. For Jews, Shabbat begins at sunset on Fridays and ends on Saturday evening when the first three stars are visible. Orthodox Jews may refrain from any work on Shabbat, while others view Shabbat as a sacred time to slow down the pace of their lives. In many Jewish homes, two Sabbath candles are lit on Friday night as they sing blessings over the challah (bread) and wine and wish each other "Shabbat Shalom" which is "peace of the Sabbath to you." The end of the Sabbath on Saturday evening is celebrated with a havdalah ceremony to let go of the quiet time of Shabbat and to return to regular life.

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