30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

Challah and Ham: Planning an Interfaith Family

by Stephen Podowitz April 21, 2014

By Stephen and Adam Podowitz-Thomas

As the Easter and Passover seasons are wrapping up in the Podowitz-Thomas household, we’ve been thinking more and more about how we’re going to share our religious traditions with our children.  As an interfaith couple, we’ve had to navigate recognition and appreciation of one another’s beliefs throughout our relationship, but when talking about how to raise our children, we’ve noticed that things have the potential to get more complicated.


Stomping on glass at the end of our wedding ceremony.

One thing we’ve done for ourselves, and we hope to continue with our kids, is emphasize the commonalities of our religious experiences.  A central aspect of our separate religious upbringings has been the importance that community played in our faith, particularly the role of a congregation.

Adam’s spiritual community growing up was his Presbyterian church, located in a pre-Revolutionary sanctuary.  His congregation was a place of support, safety, and most importantly, delicious food at their regular congregational potlucks after services.

I grew up attending services at my family’s local shul (i.e., synagogue in Yiddish) in a tight-knit community.  As a young child, many of my friends grew up observing the Sabbath without any form of work or the use of electronics.  Having time to spend with friends and family encouraged us to come together, share a meal, prayers, and other religious rites that can easily get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life.

Bringing people together in celebration was also an important element of our wedding, conducted jointly by a Methodist minister and a Rabbi.  But even more essential to us was that we both felt represented in the aspects of the ceremony itself.  Incorporating elements from both our traditions, including a chuppah, sharing a glass of wine, and a benediction from our minister, as well as stomping a glass, the ceremony turned into a somewhat eclectic blend of the Northeast, the South, Judaism, and Christianity, but represented who we are, both individually and as a couple.  And this blending is also who our child is going to be; hopefully, with the addition of traditions from their birth families.

This blending of traditions has also played out in our celebration of holidays.  Over the years, Adam has attended community Passover seders with me and our mutual friends and we have decked out our apartment with garlands and stockings every Christmas.  We’re looking forward to making our child’s first latkes for Hanukkah and watching them hunt for eggs at Easter.

Amelia and the Tree

Our cat, Amelia, was not in the Holiday spirit.

In short, we’re not sure how it’s all going to go.  We’re not sure how our child will identify religiously and we’re not sure, ultimately, that it matters.  Through our years together as a couple sharing our own beliefs with one another, we’ve come to appreciate that feelings of support and respect are really the most important thing.  And as long as we pass that lesson on to our child, we can be happy with the job we’ve done.

For more information about Stephen & Adam’s adoption journey, visit our adoption page.

The post Challah and Ham: Planning an Interfaith Family appeared first on The Next Family.

Stephen Podowitz
Stephen Podowitz


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Parenting

Modern Fitness For the Modern Parent

by The Next Family March 25, 2016


Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian

By Laura King

Life can get busy. With work, kids, family commitments, friends, chores, and the general chaos of everyday life, it can be near impossible at times to sit down for a cup of tea, let alone squeeze in an hour of exercise regularly. However, all things are possible if you set your mind to them. Those that prioritize their fitness nearly...

Continue Reading →

Estate Planning: The Basics For LGBT Families

by The Next Family March 25, 2016

With the passage of marriage equality last year, laws have been quickly changing across the United States. LGBT couples with or without children weren’t just given the right of marriage, they were provided new protections and benefits within their families. All of a sudden, LGBT couples and families had to figure out how to file jointly when it came to taxes, how to add...

Continue Reading →

Representation of Modern Families in Kid-Friendly Entertainment

by The Next Family March 24, 2016 1 Comment


By Alex Temblador

I recently wrote an article for The Next Family called, “Family-Friendly Films That Feature Adoption and Foster Care,” that shared wonderful family films with adoption or foster care story lines. My reasoning behind doing so was because every family deserves a chance to see similar families like theirs represented in various forms of entertainment.

The same can be said of other...

Continue Reading →