This year, Chanukah and Christmas will overlap once again. For many interfaith families, that means navigating two different religious traditions. For the Jewish spouse, it also means making sure their children feel connected to their Jewish heritage this time of year. We spoke to two Jewish parents in an interfaith marriage about raising their children Jewish this time of year.

Debbie Wolff grew up in Pikesville, moved to Dallas, TX after college to work in the fashion industry. She returned to Baltimore in 2018. Now a teacher at Krieger Schechter Day School (KSDS) and a Connector with the Macks Center for Jewish Connections, Debbie talks about the December holiday season and how she brings Judaism into her home.

What was your religious affiliation growing up?

In a reform home, I didn’t grow up very religious. I went to Wellwood Elementary and attended Hebrew school and Sunday school at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. When I was younger, my family would go to my grandparents to celebrate the Jewish holidays. My grandpa was religious but once my grandparents passed away we stopped getting together in a traditional way for holidays. Now I would consider myself culturally and spiritually Jewish.

What was it like moving back to Baltimore after being in Texas for so long?

When I moved back to Baltimore and began teaching at Krieger Schecter, everything began to truly feel like home. Texas was great, but there aren’t many Jews where I lived, and I hardly celebrated the Jewish holidays. We didn’t have much family near us to celebrate. Now that I’m home I love to celebrate, host and enjoy the holidays.

Tell us about your partner, Chris, and how you two met:

We met on a dating app once I moved back to Baltimore. He’s from Pasadena and grew up Christian, so we probably wouldn’t have crossed paths otherwise. Growing up, Chris was raised Catholic, and occasionally went to church, but now he isn’t involved so much in religion. He knows it makes me happy to celebrate all holidays, so that is what we do.

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The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.