For many interfaith couples, navigating the challenges of an interfaith relationship extends outside their immediate family unit, especially when children are involved.
At Squirrel Hill Psychological Services (SHPS), Wendy Levin-Shaw works with individuals, couples and families on issues and challenges relating to relationships, parenting, marital conflict and interfaith marriage. Wendy also provides education and support to groups regarding issues interfaith couples may face in their relationships, including family-wide dilemmas or disagreements.
For grandparents looking to nurture the Jewish identities of their interfaith grandchildren, The Grandparents Circle is a free five-session course that supports and educates participants in their efforts to nurture the Jewish identities of their grandchildren while respecting the choices of their intermarried adult children. Participants learn techniques for listening to and talking with their adult children, incorporating Judaism into everyday conversations and creating Jewish memories for their grandchildren. The sessions will be held at Temple David in Monroeville (4415 Northern Pike) on Tuesdays March 10 and 24, April 14 and 28 and May 12 from 6-7:30 p.m.
“Challenges of interfaith families vary; for some family members, this is more of a dilemma than for others,” Wendy said. “It’s important to know that disagreement is okay. The goal is to enhance communication and understanding and encourage mutual respect when discussing and determining religious tradition in family life.”
Wendy suggests approaching the topic regularly, and incorporating the entire family in conversations about traditions, celebrations and identities, so that family members have opportunities to share their perspectives and preferences.
The Grandparents Circle is a program of Big Tent Judaism, presented by JF&CS and sponsored locally by the Agency for Jewish Learning through funding by the Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation Fund.