I'm a Jewish man and my wife is not. While my wife is very friendly to the Jewish religion, she fully believes in Christianity.

I have not been religious or involved in the Jewish community for a long time, but she thinks I should be more involved in the Jewish community so it can give me a stronger sense of identity with my people. I agree with her. But I don't know how to reconcile being Jewish and married to a non-Jewish woman. I'm afraid I will feel like a hypocrite myself and be uncomfortable telling others about my situation. Is Judaism still for me?


You are a Jew. As Jewish as any other Jew. The Torah and mitzvot are your heritage as much as they are mine.

I understand your hesitancy to pursue this part of you. The questions you'll be asked by others... The questions you might even end up asking yourself... But a wise person doesn't allow that to get in the way of doing what's right.

I remember once posing a similar question to a mentor of mine. I was considering beginning a certain project that would be of help to many people but felt that due to certain parts of my character, I was not the right man for the job.

"How can I do this when I also occasionally do such and such," I asked, "isn't that hypocritical?"

"A hypocrite," he explained, "is one who preaches one thing and than decides to do the exact opposite. But one who attempts to become a better person - even when it clashes with other aspects of his personality - is simply a good person trying to become even better. That's how we grow.

This is so important in Judaism. Each mitzvah is its own connection to G‑d. Just because you don't keep Shabbat does not mean you can't keep kosher. The same holds true in your situation. And the fact that you have the support of your family is big plus.

I don't know where you live, but I'd recommend beginning some classes or Shabbat services at a nearby Chabad House. The rabbis assist you in your growth but never put you down for anything you've done or are not doing. It's always best to be clear from the beginning about your situation – hopefully, this will help preclude uncomfortable moments later on.

If you would like, I'll be happy to help you find a center near you and give the rabbi a heads-up call.

Let's keep in touch,

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar