Long Island Interfaith Couples Face Challenges

March 10, 2002

Source: Newsday

On March 10, 2002, Newsday featured an article on interfaith marriages in Long Island, New York. "For members of some faiths - particularly Catholics and Jews, whom clergy members say comprise the majority of Long Island's interfaith marriages - there are hard choices to be made... Msgr. Donald Beckmann, diocesan director of interreligious and ecumenical affairs for the Diocese of Rockville Centre... said, 'the most contentious issue becomes the issue of faith in raising the children.... These issues come up because they affect the wider community, the extended family'... Beyond that, he said, there are concerns about spanning a cultural divide. 'In a sense, there is a Jewish culture as well as a Jewish faith; whereas, among Christians, particularly Catholics, you'll have a Latino, a Polish, an Irish culture'... But anticipating more serious conflicts waiting beyond the canopy or altar, many rabbis and priests provide, or advise, counseling... 'Couples facing the planning of an interfaith marriage have tremendous obstacles to jump over, more so than any other couple,' said Rabbi Arthur Schwartz of Kehillath Shalom Synagogue in Cold Spring Harbor."