How Christian and Jewish Experiences Intersect in my Family.
By Julia Baginski
“Mom, are we Jewish, too?” My nine-year-old daughter Grace asked me this on Passover. She has grown up in a culturally diverse family and has celebrated Jewish holidays since the age of three. She is a Uni-tots student each Sunday, has attended Catholic baptisms as well as several Bar Mitzvahs, and lights menorahs next to a Christmas tree each year. I suppose this is how it looks to grow up with a Unity minister for a mom, a Jewish step-dad, and Catholic father, aunts and uncles.
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and this year served as a reminder of how Jewish and Christian faiths share common ground. It is wonderful to see this overlap of certain traditions and holidays, and it brings me deeper into the awareness of Oneness. This year my daughter had many questions, and was really interested to learn that Passover Seder was the meal that is known as the Last Supper Jesus shared prior to the crucifixion. She also learned that Passover is the oldest holiday and is a celebration of freedom from slavery. It was a great opportunity to talk to her about Harriett Tubman as a modern day Moses, as she helped to free many people. As Grace matures she will come to understand the spiritual liberation that Passover, the Christ and Easter represent as well.
Back to her Passover question… At age nine, I am observing that Grace is making connections about her own identity through the traditions that we celebrate. I explained to her that Passover is a Jewish holiday, and we love to celebrate it because we love her step-dad Arthur and his family too. I reminded her that Arthur celebrates Easter with us because he loves us, and we show that by learning about and participating in traditions that are important to each other. And isn’t how people celebrate their relationship with God an awesome thing to learn about?
My husband Arthur and I were married in Unity. We chose the oneness symbol for our alter cloth because it included religious symbols including a star of David, and a cross. We talked about how great it was seeing the symbols combined in Oneness, but still distinctly recognizable. This is still the attitude we have about our marriage, and I think that is a huge factor in having an unbreakable loving bond. We each have an openness and curiosity about one another’s spiritual and religious backgrounds and have never felt that we had to change one another. I am grateful for the influence of Judaism in my life, as my experience is that of warmth, family, connection, and Love.