Interfaith Family Practices: Daily Ethical Readings

My husband is Jewish and I am Christian, so we are working to solidify our beliefs and values as a couple and to start building practices and traditions that we will carry into our life with our future children. 

Our values are similar and we agree on most major issues, but we have very different vocabularies and frameworks for thinking through moral and theological topics. We are reading and listening to various Jewish, Christian, and interfaith publications to give us some common ground to build our family's moral and spiritual culture upon. 

One of our daily practices is reading from The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin during breakfast. Rabbi Telushkin provides short daily readings on different questions and ethical dilemmas that Jews (or anyone else) might face. The topics have ranged from hospitality, the ethics of smoking, giving to charity, and cheerfulness. Some of the subjects have been less applicable to our family life (neither of us have ever smoked), but some have been quite relevant and timely. The morning after we made our monthly budget, we read the entry about giving to charity, and realized we needed to adjust our budget to reflect our values of almsgiving and generosity. 

Most of the content is familiar to Seth who has spent time studying the Torah and the Talmud, but it been helpful to read it together instead of my reading it on my own. We are building a common language and frame of reference to draw from when we are having ethical and theological discussions on our own. We'd like to find a similar Christian resource to read together as well to round out our ethical discussions. 

A form of this practice would be helpful even for couples who come from the same faith tradition. It's useful to have an outside perspective bring topics into our conversation that we might not think to bring up on our own. We also enjoy having some constants in our daily rhythm. We plan to continue discussion and reflection on ethical topics when children join our family. 

Any other interfaith couples out there? How do you find common ground, spiritually? 

Caitlin Supcoff