Being The Only Jew In A Catholic Family For The Holidays

Being The Only Jew In A Catholic Family For The Holidays

"Cashew" - a Catholic person who is now Jewish


I was baptized as a Catholic. I made my 7 Sacraments as a Catholic. My family is made up of Irish and Italian Catholics, and my name is still registered with the Catholic Church. But, I am Jewish.

I decided to convert to Judaism when I started college. There is an amazing Jewish community here on campus and in the city and being a Jewish Studies minor, everything sort of led to me converting.

My parents were supportive; my mom was just happy I believed in something and had made so many new friends along the way, and my dad was pretty indifferent. I kept it a secret for a while from some of my family members, but eventually it got out, and of course, they were shocked.

One of the biggest questions I got after the initial shock was, "Well, what about Christmas?"

I haven't been to a Christmas Eve mass in years, so I didn't see why it mattered so much. After I made Confirmation, the last Sacrament a juvenile makes, I pretty much denounced Catholicism and decided to remain Agnostic for a few years before I found my place elsewhere, and that meant not going to church unless it was for a wedding, baptism, or funeral.

That wasn't what they meant, though. They meant, will I be celebrating Christmas still? Of course! Christmas has become so commercialized and more about presents and spending time with your family than about religious practices. I mean, the same thing goes for Hanukkah; it isn't even in the Hebrew Bible.

Just because I'm Jewish doesn't mean I'm going to give up celebrating Christmas with my family or even getting chocolate on Easter. It just means that I have learned to detach these holidays from religion. WIth Christmas, I feel like it's so much easier to celebrate in a Secular way than, say, celebrating Yom Kippur would be. Nobody wants to fast for 25 hours just for shits and gigs, ya know?

I wouldn't say that now it's awkward around Christmas time. During dinners, I'll sit silently while everyone says Grace and usually I'm reciting the Kaddish in my head. Hanukkah usually falls during Finals Week anyway, so I'm celebrating it away and either with my friends or alone. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and spread holiday cheer and whatnot. I'm not sitting in the corner like the Grinch muttering, "I'm Jewish."

This past year, I've gotten holiday cards for Hanukkah from my family, which was surprising, but also made me tear up a bit because it showed they accepted my Jewy-ness.

It may mean having to celebrate all of the Jewish holidays on my own, but what counts is the holidays that I've celebrated my whole life and getting to spend time with family that counts. And I'll proudly light my Menorah next to my Christmas tree like the Cashew I am.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.

Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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Dear Christians, Think Twice Before You Invite A Non-Christian To Your Church

It's important to be sensitive to the many faiths people around you adhere to.



I understand you preaching me verses from the Bible comes from good intentions.

I understand you explaining to me the teachings of Jesus comes from good intentions.

I understand you inviting me to your church comes from good intentions.

The issue is that not everybody is as tolerant of your evangelical mission. In fact, many may see it as outright offensive.

"How dare you try to push your religious beliefs on me?"

"I don't appreciate your attempts to convert me."

"I'm satisfied with my own religion, thanks."

The above are just some responses you might unfortunately get, but it is important to understand why that's the case.

Christianity is, by all means, the most popular religion on the planet with followers from all corners of the globe.

With your faith having such a large following, people may see your mission to spread God's word as rather selfish — an attack, even, to not consider their faith.

Receiving this kind of response from someone when you meant only the best for them can occur with even the simplest actions — you can try inviting someone to your church and still end up offending them.

I can admit there was one point in time I was in such a situation where my neighbor asked me to attend her church for Easter when she knew I was a Hindu. I was taken aback by her invitation. Religion was not something I considered to be a "show and tell" where you share it with others without them asking. I am glad to educate people about Hinduism, but only if they ask and are genuinely interested, otherwise I don't try and bring it up and teach it to others in case they become uncomfortable.

Don't get me wrong, Hinduism is one of the most liberal and tolerant religions out there. Hindus are allowed to visit other houses of worship, accept beliefs from other religions, and accept the fact that there are multiple supreme beings; there is no limit to how Hindus reach salvation.

I wasn't offended by her Christianity, but rather her disregard of how someone from a different faith may interpret her invitation.

I politely declined her invitation because at the time it did make me uncomfortable and I didn't understand her intentions. I have had moments in my life where I was encouraged to convert to Christianity, even offered money, which made me wary of the intentions of Christians around me who were very open about their religion.

Today, as a Hindu attending a private Christian university, I have had the opportunity to interact with Christians and understand why they like to promote their faith. It took quite some time and experience to educate myself about this, and I better understand where Christians come from when they talk about religion, but not everybody is so accommodating.

It is very important to understand that your beliefs are just that — beliefs. Beliefs are subjective and not everybody is going to agree with them or respect them.

You may have been taught to "go make disciples of all the nations," and you don't get to pick and choose which teachings of Jesus to follow, but understand that you assuming you're helping someone follow "the right path" may actually be pushing them away.

We appreciate your genuine care for us and your good intentions behind promoting your faith, but please be sensitive to how you talk about religion — even if it is inviting someone to your church.


Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Atheists, and other non-Christian belief systems.

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