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home : columns : dear harriette November 20, 2018

1/23/2018 10:39:00 AM
Interfaith couple must discuss their future

DEAR HARRIETTE: I need some advice about religion and love. I am Catholic, but I do not practice many Catholic traditions. I would not consider religion to be a big part of my identity, but still enjoy partaking in some traditions such as Christmas and Easter. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is Jewish. He would also not consider his religion to be a big part of his identity, but that is not the case for his mother.  

My boyfriend's mother is an Orthodox Jewish woman who keeps kosher and follows all the Jewish traditions and rules. She tries to motivate my boyfriend to keep kosher and things like that, but he simply has no interest. I respect his mother's values as well as my boyfriend's, but when it comes to discussing marriage with him, he says marrying a Jewish woman is important. I don't see why this is an important factor in a potential wife when he doesn't care about it now.  

Do you have any insight on why that is, or if I could discuss it further with my boyfriend without starting any drama? -- Not-Kosher Girlfriend, Commack, New York 

DEAR NOT-KOSHER GIRLFRIEND: This is an important topic that you should sort out if you think there's a chance you want to marry this man. In the Jewish tradition, when someone wants to marry a person of a different faith, it is common that the spouse converts to Judaism. For some families, this is acceptable.  

I did a bit of research on this topic, and I can tell you that it is rare for a religious Jewish family to agree to an interfaith marriage. That said, many interfaith couples have successfully built lives together. It can mean that they suffer a loss of closeness with one or both families, though. Talk this through together and talk to your parents, all of them, to get a sense of whether you will be strong enough to marry. 


DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a college student who has been constantly searching for an internship. I have used my university's career service center and searched sites like and other search engines, but nothing seems to catch my eye. I am open to different types of internship experiences, but was wondering if there are any ways you would recommend a college student go about finding the type of internship they are looking for. -- The Lost Intern, Boston 


DEAR THE LOST INTERN: Start by evaluating what interests you. You can select more than one idea if you are unsure, but you do need to have strong opinions about whatever you choose. You must sell yourself to a potential intern coordinator, demonstrating why you should be selected to work with them. This includes being articulate about how you can help them do their work as well as what you would like to learn from them.  

When you look at intern listings, look for businesses that do things that interest you. You can also ask your neighbors, your parents' friends and other adults or local businesses that you like if they have internship opportunities. Many students design their own internships. Give yourself a deadline to apply, and get busy. 


(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.) 

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