BEING BOTH by Susan Katz Miller


Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family
Email this review


A story of raising children in two religions.

Like interracial families, interfaith families, in which two different religions are practiced in the same household, are becoming more common. Former Newsweek and New Scientist writer Miller examines the experiences of her childhood, during which she was raised by a Jewish father and Protestant mother. Since Judaism is matrilineal, Miller was not always accepted as a Jew in more orthodox circles, but she still considered herself Jewish. When she fell in love with a Protestant, “[m]any of our friends and relatives experienced our wedding as a symbol of hope for peace between world religions, a sign that love can overcome differences, and an education for those from both sides of the aisle." Consequently, when they had children, it was only logical to raise them to take part in both religious worlds. Part memoir and part how-to for families facing questions of faith, Miller provides answers to the sometimes-overwhelming dilemma of choosing between faiths or choosing both faiths. By finding supportive religious leaders and other families in similar situations, a couple can incorporate the best of both religions, providing a richer, varied faith-based experience for children. Miller addresses such topics as circumcision, baptism, coming-of-age ceremonies and education. Using stories from other families who practice two faiths, the author generates a well-rounded take on how they have handled this complex scenario and how interfaith children continue to follow (or not) once they come of age. Most interfaith families are Jewish and Christian, but Miller points out that Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus are just as likely to intermarry with Christians and others, and she provides sound advice for these complex relationships as well.

An insightful examination of one way that religious beliefs are shaping American families.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8070-1319-9
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Beacon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013


NonfictionSTRANGERS TO THE TRIBE by Gabrielle Glaser
by Gabrielle Glaser
NonfictionMARRIAGE CONFIDENTIAL by Pamela Haag
by Pamela Haag
by Elaine Landau