What about the grandkids?


I just learned yesterday that if you text a member of the opposite sex the word “Heyy” with two “y’s” you are in a relationship.  Three “y’s” means you are married, one is only friends.  I guess my husband and I are only friends because he only gets one “y.”  While there was a certain amount of awkward joking about the subject, what I was learning was that my oldest son (in middle school) was starting to think that girls didn’t have cooties and that he might want a girlfriend, at some point, not now he quickly reassured me.

The girl he has a crush on is cute and she seems nice enough.  I am pretty sure she is not smart enough for him, but she has enough spunk to put him in his place.  I like her sense of humor and her unique style.  BUT, you know there had to be a but, she is not Jewish.  Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth, but I don’t want my baby to date a non-Jew.  I think it is so strange that I, of all people, am upset that he might want to marry a non-Jew.  I actually sort of have this vehement need to demand that he does not marry a non-Jew.  There might be a little foot stamping and room sending as well.  Guess I have more in common with my Jewish elders that I thought.

I asked Mac about how he felt about dating a non-Jew.  His response was that he was not likely to marry this girl.  True.  That there are not a lot of Jewish girls running around here in the epicenter of Christianity.  True.  That his father didn’t think it was important enough to marry a Jewish girl and their kids have turned out alright.  True.  That said, I feel like all the hard work and sacrifice I have made is really for nothing if it does not go further than my own kids.  These kids need to create more Jewish kids.  (This raises a whole issue of what sort of Grandma I will be, but I am too young and sassy to address that.)

We talked a bit more about whom he might want to marry.  He said that he didn’t really care what religion she was, but he did want the kids to be raised as Jews.  While this was marginally comforting, it did drive home the point that we do need to be extra vigilant in making sure that being Jewish is something important enough that our kids want to pass it on to their kids.  This conversation is not over.  Mac is just starting to think about girls and he is still really young.   I am sure that we will have lots of opportunity to talk about the girls he likes and does not like.  I hope that he makes good choices.

I am not sure what we need to do exactly about this, but I continue to try and create as Jewish a household as I can.  We celebrate Shabbat weekly, we go to temple on a regular basis and the kids view themselves as Jews.  I realize that I cannot make them “love being Jewish,” but I hope that they do.  Cuz this non-Jewish mom wants some Jewish grandkids, or else you can just march yourself up to your room.

4 thoughts on “What about the grandkids?”

  • Dear SLP:

    As the Coordinator of the Half-Jewish Network, I understand that you put in a lot of work as the non-Jewish partner in an intermarriage to raise your children as Jews.

    But please understand — part of them is you. Half, to be exact. Fully 50 percent of their DNA is yours. You’ve been present in their lives since they were born.

    They grew up with one parent who was Jewish and one parent who wasn’t Jewish. So naturally they will be drawn to both Jews and non-Jews romantically. It’s the way they are wired. It would be psychologically unhealthy if they were turned off by people like yourself.

    Robin Margolis

  • Hi SLP, if I am understanding correctly, you are not Jewish.  You are not the first non-Jewish mom I have heard express that sentiment.  I think you have every right to your feelings.  You made a plan and worked towards it.  You want it to come out the way you planned.  We can’t assure that our parenting goals will be fulfilled but I want to affirm you for all you’ve done.  If your son marries a non-Jewish woman someday, I am confident that you will rise to the challenge and be a caring mother-in-law and grandmother.

  • My Jewish dad married a non-Jewish woman and I remember thinking he was quite the hypocrite when he wanted us to marry Jewish people.  My brother did end up marrying a Jewish woman, but neither of us ever limited our dating pool (ok, I tried once, for about 6 months and was thoroughly disappointed at my limited options).  I married a Christian who is about as practicing as I am (about nil) but I find that I still want my daughter to be Jewish, so I guess I kind of understand, now, where my dad was coming from.

  • I would love to know why SLP feels so strongly about her son dating–and someday marrying–a Jewish girl.  She mentions the “hard work and sacrifice” that she has invested in raising her child Jewish, but that can hardly be the whole story.

    I get that she doesn’t fully understand this impulse herself, but I would appreciate a future article in which she attempts to articulate it.

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