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Topic: Children, Parents, Different Levels of Religious Commitment

Name@Withheld from Washington, DC wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

My husband and I would like to start a family. We are both in our mid-20's and Jewish. Our levels of Judaism and practice, however, are different. I am more observant (observe Shabbat, keep kosher, feel very connected to G-d). My husband, on the other hand, does not feel the same spirituality (he was not raised this way) and therefore does not place the same value on Judaic laws and customs. He makes an effort to stay home with me on Shabbat and keep kosher in the home - but this is more out of respect for me than his religious belief. Now that we are considering children I am realizing the implications this "conflict" could have on our family. I feel very alone and confused. Please help guide us in the right direction. Thank you so much.

Dear Name@Withheld,

Your situation is difficult, but not hopeless. The mother of the family usually sets the tone in the household, especially when it comes to Jewish practice. However, to raise children as committed Jews requires the efforts of your husband as well. You and your husband must discuss, frankly and respectfully, the problems that you envisage. Explain to him the confusion that the children will have, the inconsistencies in their outlook that will result from two opposed educational outlooks. Parents must be united in raising their children.

Try not to pressure your husband. Every step you take in Judaism, discuss with him. Make as little imposition as you can on him, and suggest to him the possibility of studying some Judaism on a regular basis.

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