My super Catholic family is going to try to convert my Jewish boyfriend during Christmas. What do I do?
“Dear Mom and Spawn, I’m in the process of converting to Judaism. I’ve actually been practicing Judaism for a long time. My parents, although my mom is a super devout Catholic, are really supportive of it. I’m dating a NJB (nice Jewish boy) and have been for some time now. He’s really awesome, and he wants to come to my family’s Christmas gathering this year, and I want him to get to know my family. My grandmother fought Nazis, and at 96, has dementia. She likes Jewish people “because I fought the Krauts for them,” but realistically thinks any non-Christians will go to hell if they don’t turn to Christ. The one time I told her, “hey I’m Jewish” she flipped out and told me that she loved me, but I’m going to hell. My entire mother’s side of the family is SUPER religious Catholic. I’m terrified for him to meet them, because they are really pushy about their religion. Should I keep them away from him until I’m in a legal situation where they have to meet him, such as ‘oh hey babe these people are your family now ze kef,’ or should I introduce him to them? I’ve met his family and they really like me, but I’m really afraid that my Sephardi partner is going to experience the Inquisition at Christmas. What should I do????” – Panicked Latke
@CrazyJewishMom: Oh relax! Family is always messy! Bring the boyfriend, and tell granny to eat some Christmas ham and relax.
@KateFriedmanSiegel: I DEFINITELY agree that you should bring him along. Look, he knows your family is Catholic. He also knows you love him and are converting to Judaism. And EVERYONE knows that old people can be a little racist sometimes! Not great, but I imagine he’ll have a sense of humor about it.
@CrazyJewishMom: Yes, we Jews are known to have a pretty decent sense of humor.
@KateFriedmanSiegel: Just contextualize it for him, so he doesn’t feel blindsided. You could say something like: “OKAY, so my grandma is a very very old, very very catholic person, so she’s gonna be super intense about religious stuff … like she might try to save your soul. And my ultra religious relatives will probably try and convert you. BUT I love you, and I’m committed to and excited about becoming Jewish. I just want to give you a head’s up.”
@CrazyJewishMom: It will be fine. Your Grandma loves you. He loves you. It may be a little messy, but the best things often are.
@KateFriedmanSiegel: What the hell does that even mean? Messy things are not great.
@CrazyJewishMom: Oh yeah? What about sex?
@KateFriedmanSiegel: Okay, moving on. Ultimately it sounds like your family is important to you, so just rip the band aid off and let the worlds collide.
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