It was a New York love story... with a religious twist
My fiance Lee is a Brooklyn native who was raised in close proximity to relatives in a Modern Orthodox community where bonds were tight and secrets scarce. It was during college that Lee decided to quietly break with his religious roots. Nobody had to know, he figured, leaving the family unscathed by his departure.
Meanwhile, I was raised both Jewish (dad) and Catholic (Italian mom). I considered myself, colloquially, "Buddish.” As an only child, the small clan I was raised in was a far cry from Lee's experience growing up.
When we began dating, Lee’s family initially assumed that yes, “This was a fine match!” since I was oh-so-lovely and oh-so-Hovitz. That is, until his brother (prone to pot-stirring) spilled the proverbial beans all over the dining room table. News was out of the religious blending; and wasn't contained by immediate family members or households.
My fiance started footing calls from frantic family members telling him what a mistake he was making. His sister feared he would bring shame on the family -- and that she would never find anyone to marry her. Lee had to defend his choices to his own siblings, and to some of his friends.
And, admirably, he stood his ground.
At first, Lee's mother thankfully decided she would rather have a son living in sin with a Shiksa Goddess than no son at all. She dutifully welcomed us into her home and we did the same. She tried. She really did. We met on several occasions and had a wonderful time together, and I could tell how torn she was.