Couples Convo Starters
This discussion guide is for couples who are trying to figure out how they’re “Jew” and how they’re “ish.”
You come from different backgrounds – perhaps you’re both Jewish, but one of you grew up with Shabbat and the other ate bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel, or, one of you is a yid and the other is not – and you are seeking a way to connect with Judaism on your own terms, together.
Talk it out (with our help)!
This guide was created in collaboration with Honeymoon Israel.
Are you wondering how to handle Jewish parents who faint at the site of a Christmas tree?
Want to know if it’s possible to build a diverse group of friends and maintain a close connection to the Jewish community all at the same time?
Maybe your toddler isn’t capable of sticking with one YouTube video for more than ten minutes, but you want to know if you should let him or her decide which religion he or she wants to practice.
Grab some comfort food, a glass of wine or mug of tea, cuddle up next to your partner on the couch, and settle in for a nice, long chat. Discuss how you’ll approach your connection to Jewish life and culture in your own way. You won’t figure it out in one sitting, and there won’t be a clear cut answer, but you can always check back in with each other using the questions in this guide.
Your personal practice
What is your spiritual journey? How did you practice religion growing up, if at all?
Do you consider yourself of a faith or religious?
What do you love about your faith? What turns you off about your faith? What are some beliefs or practices within your own religion that you do or don’t treasure?
Do you plan to be religiously active? In which ways? Is it important for your partner to participate? To what degree?
You as a couple
What’s your framework for figuring out things you haven’t decided on yet?
What are you willing to be flexible about?
How will you support and participate in each other’s traditions?
What do you respect and admire about your partner’s faith?
Where do your beliefs overlap and how can you build that into something together?
Your wedding (if you're planning one)
Will it be religious?
If so, of one faith or combined?
Who will officiate?
How will you make it inclusive for everyone?
For more tips on how to create the beautiful, inclusive, (relatively) drama-free Jewish (or Jew-ish) wedding you want, check out our wedding guides.
Which will you celebrate? Not celebrate? How?
Children (if they're in the picture)
In what faith, if any, do you plan to raise your children?
What will you teach your kids about religion and God?
Which faith-related things did you like about your own upbringing? Didn’t like?
How involved will each of you be in which parts of your children’s religious upbringing?
Will you send your children to religious school?
In-Laws (if you've got 'em)
What are their expectations of you individually and as a couple?
Have you communicated your faith plans with them?
How might you include your in-laws in your new traditions and invite them into your practice?
Which faith communities are you or will you become a part of, if any?
Do you have a peer community of likeminded couples who are asking similar questions?
Does it matter where you live?
Which questions hit the spot? Made you feel icky? Are we missing any? Let us know! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This guide was created in partnership with Honeymoon Israel, which provides inclusive, exciting, romantic, memorable (and highly subsidized) trips to Israel for newly committed couples with at least one Jewish partner (one Jewish grandparent counts!).
Photos by Emanuel Hahn