So my boyfriend is from Israel, but has been living in the states since his whole family moved to California 7 years ago. His family speaks Hebrew/ Hebrish to each other and I find the language so beautiful and exotic, but I don’t speak it. Anyways, I was raised Tibetan Buddhist (weird in the US I know) and my dad is an immigrant from Germany. Neither of our families (nor us) are strongly religious, but his family celebrates all the Jewish holidays. Our cultural and religious backgrounds are staggeringly different, yet we both are madly in love and know we want to spend the rest of our lives together.
This year we are staying with his family over the holidays and I’m celebrating my first Hanukkah! I’m super excited! This will also be the first time I meet his family, as he’s already gone on a Thanksgiving vacation with mine.
We started talking recently about how we could fuse some Buddhist and Jewish tid-bits into an overall non-religious wedding. However, my boyfriend’s best friend (who is also Israeli) found it hard to believe that he was considering marrying someone non-Jewish AND non-Israeli. The friend said it would anger my boyfriend’s family even though they aren’t very religious, and I should seriously consider converting for everyone’s sake.
I don’t even know what converting would entail. I’ve always found his Israeli/Jewish culture to be interesting, but I didn’t realize this aspect of marrying into your own religion. I do know that Buddhism and Judaism mix better than one would expect, which is good given that I have no plan on giving up my Buddhist upbringing.
So what should I know about marrying into a Jewish/Israeli family? And what are some opinions on converting? How does it work? Thank you for any insights!