I need help. I don’t know where to turn. My Jewish husband relies on me, his non-Jewish wife, to do all of the Jewish household things.
We have been together for 10 years and married for 5. When I first met him he was in the middle of a massive transition away from orthodoxy and actually became an atheist. By the time we went on our first date, he was fully atheist as was I. He made enough money for me to be a stay-at-home girlfriend, and I didn’t mind taking on the role of homemaker since he was working full-time and getting a master’s degree at the same time. At first, we didn’t really do much for Jewish holidays because he didn’t seem to care. In fact, I would go all out for Christmas because that was my favorite holiday and I have a December birthday.
But once we began wedding planning, he suddenly started to care a lot about tradition. Suddenly I was waking up early every Friday to bake challah, building a sukkah, and putting in orders at the butcher for a shank bone. Again, I didn’t have an issue because I didn’t work, but it was a lot of effort. He never really would do any of the work, he started to just assume it would be done. Wedding planning was very stressful because I had no help and, to be honest, I barely understood many of the traditions and how to incorporate them.
Now that we have a child, I feel very overwhelmed with the amount of Jewish things I have to do. My husband keeps talking about how our daughter will have a bat mitzvah but seems oblivious to the fact that Jewish education starts young and the schools around us have a long waiting list. We only just got an offer to join a temple after a year-long wait. And I was the one who researched the temple we should join because he kept forgetting to. I do all the prep for the holidays. I have a financial plan to help us save for our daughter’s Hebrew school education. Judaism is supposed to be a lifestyle, but I feel like I’m doing all the work.
And the crazy thing is that we are still both atheists. Everything I’m doing feels incredibly performative, but if I don’t do it, it would never get done. I’m so worried about my daughter not growing up with “enough” Judaism in her daily life. I don’t understand why my husband cares so much about being part of the Jewish community but not enough to take the initiative on anything. Has anyone been in this situation, or have any advice? Thanks for reading and happy Hanukkah.