Mixed-faith couples welcome Romain's discussion forum

By Jessica Elgot, January 19, 2012
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Two Jewish women in relationships with vicars, and gay Jewish and Muslim couples, were among a substantially increased turnout at Rabbi Jonathan Romain's annual seminar for mixed-faith couples.

More than 100 people participated in the "I'm Jewish, My Partner Isn't" event at the Sternberg Centre, Finchley, on Sunday, travelling from as far afield as Glasgow and Nottingham. The attendance in recent years has been around 60.

"It just shows the issue is not going to go away," said Rabbi Romain, who ran the seminar in conjunction with the Reform Movement's Jeneration group.

"It can be easier to be in a relationship with someone of a different faith, rather than none, because they find it easier to respect religious tradition. Atheists might not react well to what they see as 'religious indoctrination'."

A number of partnerships were Jewish-Catholic. "On the surface there might seem to be a great deal of difference in the religion, but there is a strong connection in terms of responsibility to the religion," Rabbi Romain explained.

Participants felt the seminar provided a "safe space" for issues of concern to be discussed, even between the partners. "Many non-Jewish partners were finding it hard to understand that, while their partner might not be religious, they felt strongly about planning for a Jewish future.

"Most of the Jewish partners said it had made them more aware of their Jewishness and that they were keen not to let that drop. They realised it was now on their shoulders alone."

Last updated: 1:04pm, January 19 2012