SPLIT: Trouble with ex over religious ceremonies for our children


My soon to be ex-husband was Jewish and converted to Catholicism after the birth of our son. He does not have any real religious beliefs and never practiced either religion. I did not want him to convert, but he did. We agreed from day on that our children were to be raised Catholic- this is something that I made clear to him from the day that we met, actually!
Now that we are divorcing, he wanted to put in our custody agreement thay our son can have a Bar Mitsvah. I refused to allow that. According to his religion, the children are the religion of the mother. I also have his Baptismal Certificate to prove it. I agreed to allow the children to receive some education in Judaism, as long as it is made clear that they are not Jewish and they will not be receiving Bar or Bat Mitzvahs. I also must have contact with the synogogue that may be willing to teach them.
I am wondering, though, if he does manage to find a place that will do it (our son is only 7 right now), what do I have to do to stop it?
My issue is that I actually take my religion seriously, he does not. Converting and then “taking it back” is not setting a good example for the children at all!




Realistically, there may be nothing you can do to stop it if he is determined that your son is going to have a Bar Mitzvah.

If he is so casual about practicing either religion, is it possible that he is getting pressure from his family to do this?

I would bet that right now while emotions are running high, he knows this is something that will push your buttons, and so he is using it. He clearly knows where you stand. I would also be willing to bet (especially in the absence of family pressure/support) that as the dust settles, the religious part of things will really be too much for him to bother with.

I think what you are proposing sounds reasonable. Keep calm, carry on, and pray.


It looks like you will be the one doing the bulk of educating your children in the Catholic faith. Bar Mitzvah ceremonies take place when the child is 13. By then, your children should be well educated in the basics and know that active participation in a non-Catholic worship service is not permitted. But if your son decides to go ahead with it, you will also have to let him know that, even this can be forgiven. Kids are under a lot of pressure after a divorce and pressure does not always lead to good decision making.


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