Author Archives: Christine Wedner

Christine Wedner

About Christine Wedner

I am a stay at home mom to, Sacha (almost 12), Celia (almost 8), Ellie (almost 6) and Asher (2.5). I have been married to my extraordinary husband, Grant Wedner, for 12.5 years - our journey together has been full of adventures and laughter. When I am not: volunteering at school, shuttling my posse around, being a mediator during sibling rivalries, cooking, kissing boo boos, doing laundry, reciting my favorite song, "Clean up. Clean up. Everybody everywhere"; I enjoy, running, spending time with friends, knitting, skiing, being with my husband and of course, sleeping.

Jewish & Filipino

Wedner_080409_6507My husband, Grant and I have worked together to rear our children in the Jewish faith. We made a conscious effort to place our family in diverse cities: New York, Los Angeles and now the Bay Area – to expose them to a variety of cultures and ethnicities.

What challenges have I really faced? What have I done to remind our children that they aren’t just Jewish but Filipino. What have I done to help them embrace the culture that I grew up in?

Filipino culture is rooted – for the most part – in three major areas: religion, family and food.

I grew up Catholic. Went to Catholic school from high school through college and even after graduating and living in San Francisco I would still attend mass every Sunday. Partly because I knew my Mom would ask if I went and I couldn’t be dishonest with her.

I remember big dinners on Sundays or celebrations where everyone came together and there was always a table filled with almost every traditional Filipino dish you could imagine. Every get together had its share of both family drama and laughter.

So when I think about what I have done to make an effort to infuse my Filipino background with our family – I don’t see challenges – if anything I see similarities.

We stress the importance of our Judaism, especially in a world where we try to explain to our children why we don’t celebrate Christmas when one set of grandparents do, that the Easter bunny will never come hopping by our home, and that matzoh for a whole week can be rather tasty – you just have to know how to bring out the flavor.

We are doing our very best to give our children the strongest foundation we can. With that foundation we stress the importance of being true to who you are – embracing the beauty and traditions of our religion and the legacy of all the Jewish people before us.

We light the candles every Friday and have family Shabbat dinner. We spend time with family and friends over the Jewish holidays – surrounded by food and laughter – creating memories.

A perfect example of how we have effortlessly combined Filipino and Jewish tradition happened on the night of Yom Kippur. I asked the family what they would like for Shabbat dinner and the unanimous vote was chicken adobo – a traditional Filipino dish – with green beans and garlic, rice and of course, a challah.

One would immediately think, “What an interesting pairing…” but it showcases our family off perfectly.

This is who we are.

We are Jewish and Filipino. The integration of both cultures has been a seamless one because we have adopted the same value system from each one. We value our religion. We value our family. And. We love food.

We celebrate our diversity and feel so blessed that our children will grow up being proud of not only being Jewish but being Filipino.

This piece was first shared from the bimah at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos, California.

 

Posted on February 4, 2014

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