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My brother is engaged to a Christian woman and it’s tearing my family apart. Looking for Jewish texts that will help me make sense of it all

Looking for advice and Jewish resources/scholarly writings to help me make sense of this situation.

My brother (who is halachically Jewish, otherwise I wouldn’t be posting in a Judaism subreddit) recently announced his engagement to a woman who is not Jewish. Her family are practicing Christians, rather than secular Christians. It is not important to him whether she converts. It is causing a lot of strife in my family. We knew he was dating her, but he had previously said it wasn’t that serious.

For one, none of us ever expected to be in this situation. We always assumed he’d meet a nice Jewish girl and settle down. I guess at some point that changed, and the announcement took us all by surprise.

My brother and I both went to day school from toddler-6th grade. I would say our upbringing would be in line with the conservative movement. We went to temple many Shabbats and observed the holidays in some way.

My family was decimated by the Shoah and the pogroms before. My grandfather managed to sneak out of his village 6 hours before the Nazis invaded and trekked on foot to eventually get to Israel. There are great-aunts and uncles we never got to meet, and cousins that were never born because of centuries of persecution.

My mother feels betrayed and heartbroken and stopped speaking to my brother.

Currently, I am feeling happy for my brother, but also sadness and grief that marrying Jewish wasn’t as important to him as it was to me. And also a whole bunch of confusion. My brother does not understand why anybody in the family would or could be upset. He told me, that to him, dating and marrying Jewish was nothing more that “ticking a box.”

For me, Judaism is like a sixth sense, and as a result of that sixth sense, a threshold requirement for dating (and ultimately marriage), was that the person was Jewish. In talking to my brother, I realized that to him, Judaism is not the same, and he doesn’t understand why it is so intrinsic to some people. It’s as if he never had the sense of smell, but he’ll never know what he’s missing and can’t understand the concept of the sense of smell because he’s never experienced it. I’m sad for him that he doesn’t feel the same connection to Judaism that I and others in my family feel. I feel sad that for him, Judaism is only “ticking a box.” He doesn’t understand why this decision could in any way be upsetting to the family.

He keeps saying “if Judaism was really that important to you, you’d be tolerant and happy for us.” Is that true?

I think a person can feel many conflicting emotions at once. I feel happy & excited for my brother as he enters this next phase of life and he feels he has found his life partner. But I am confused if she can be his beshert if she’s not Jewish….I look forward to getting to know his fiancée. And I am also upset my brother does not at least acknowledge the rest of the family’s feelings. Many people who marry out at least acknowledge the consternation it causes their families.

Looking for some Jewish guidance to make sense of it all. Thanks!

submitted by /u/yogacat72
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Source: Reditt

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