Growing up I have learned that it’s impossible to avoid the question, what is your religion? No matter what it eventually comes up, especially this time of year, and everyone always ends up extremely confused by that answer so now I’m going to answer.
First off I would like to say happy holidays to everyone. Whether you are celebrating Passover or Easter, may we all rejoice in the beautiful spring that has quickly come upon us and spend that time with our families. Growing up my dad was Jewish and my mom was Methodist. While most families in these situations choose to stick primarily with one religion my family chose to raise my siblings and I as both. My entire life I went to two episcopal schools, which had students of all races and religions. From pre-kindergarten to 8th grade I had chapel every Monday where we sang inclusive religious songs, and also had bible verses read, with traditional more Christian values. However, some chapels were spent explaining Jewish holidays and other Jewish traditions. On Sundays I went to Sunday school at my local temple, and participated in aspects of Judaism, learning tradition and history of the religion. This was all in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah at age 13. Currently I would say I attend church twice a year, and temple twice a year so I’m not crazy religious. However we do celebrate the big religious holidays like Easter, Christmas, Yom Kippor, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah.
When I tell people this they say……
“What?? So you get both Chanukah gifts and Christmas gifts?”
Well yeah, I guess I do get some gifts for both holidays but none of that stuff is important at all. I’m not going to try and really state my opinion on the two but I’m going to explain how learning the two religions together have impacted my life. First off, what these two religions are trying to uphold such as strong morals and creating a sense of community with family members and those around you are the exact same teachings. Their ideas on Jesus Christ are obviously different but the teachings are explaining the same teachings, just in different stories. In basic terms, they are very similar religions.
Enough about the actual religious aspects, learning both of these religions has taught me the importance of including others and sticking together with family. Christmas, Chanukah, Easter, and Passover are usually times where members of the religions heavily devote their time in Church or Temple. Whereas these holidays for my family have become times that we all get together and enjoy together. The most remarkable aspect of this is both sides of my family get together, I’m not kidding. On Christmas my dad’s family comes, and on Passover my mom’s family comes down. Those memories are some of the best teachings I’ve ever learned in life since they have taught me to be inclusive. Even though one family may not be that religion, they respect the religion, watch the rituals and realize that the most important aspect is sharing time together as a family. Especially now that my brother, sister, and I are so much older, these holidays have become family time. The two interpretations have taught me the importance of including others, and showing others different beliefs so they gain a better understanding of them is.
Not to go on too much of a rant but that is what racism or discriminating against a certain religion is most of the time. Someone doesn’t know anything about the group and takes no time to understand what they believe, so they denounce it as lesser than themselves.
I can only thank my parents for exposing me to these two religions because it has taught me the power of acceptance, and made me understand how strong our family really is. So yes I am Methodist and Jewish which people say is impossible but we make it work.