The A-Z of Intermarriage Excerpt: LATKE for Success

From The A-Z of Intermarriage by Rabbi Denise Handlarski (New Jewish Press, March 2020):


The key to a successful intermarriage is in the doing. If you are currently in or considering an intermarriage, here are five things you can do right now to set you up for success. To help, think of the handy acronym LATKE:

LISTEN: Ask your partner and ask yourself these questions and attentively listen to the answers: What is essential to my identity and cultural practice, what can I let go of, what can I adopt?

ACT: What is one thing you can do this week to help each partner feel affirmed? Is it celebrating Shabbat (sabbath)? Is it sharing a text from each culture? Is it buying or recycling the Christmas lights?

TALK: Say out loud the one thing that scares you most to tell your partner about what you are wanting but not getting, or are hoping to introduce into your lives about your own cultural practice.

KINDNESS: Whatever your partner has just said, respond with kindness. Perhaps you'll need negotiation, perhaps you’ll need mediation, but right now, do one kind thing in response. Tell them you hear them. Give them a back rub. Clear out a drawer for the holiday paraphernalia they are asking for. Whatever it is, respond with kindness.

ENERGY: We are all busy and sometimes it is difficult to find the energy to have the tough conversations and put our goals into practice. So, find one energizing thing you can do right now to free up space for this work. Meditate together for five minutes. Go for a walk. Relax with a bottle of wine as you have these conversations. Make the work of creating a successful intermarriage part of what energizes, not de-energizes, your life as a couple and a family.

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