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Baby with a man of a different faith...issues

(47 Posts)
sunflowers27 Sat 12-Apr-14 19:16:07

Two years ago I had a brief fling, and after the fling ended I discovered that I was pregnant. I have since given birth to a beautiful baby boy, who is the centre of my Universe.

However, the Father and his family are not happy with how I am raising our child. What I didn't mention before is that the Father is Jewish. He was actually born and raised in Israel, served in the IDF etc etc, although no longer lives in Israel.

We are not in a relationship, and I have tried to explain to him that I don't want to raise our son as Jewish- I am not religious myself, and would rather let our Son make up his own mind about his faith when he is older. I will however, teach him and encourage him to find out more about his Jewish heritage as I hope will his dad, I have even given him a traditionally Jewish name, but I do not wish to raise him as a religion that I myself know very little about.

I am feeling quite angry that I have had no help leading up to, during or after the birth, yet now he feels like he can stick his ore in. I have very little family support myself and I have been trying my best, and actually doing a pretty good job, but I've received no praise or empathy from the father or his family regarding my situation. I instead have been criticised continually, and lately there have been vague threats from the father, along the lines that if I won't raise our Son as Jewish then he will - implying that he will perhaps fight for custody, or worse take our Son from me without my consent. I hope that these are empty threats but they are leaving me deeply stressed and anxious. I'm absolutely terrified that I will wake up and my baby will be gone, or that in the future, he will be whisked off to Israel never to be seen again.

I feel I face two options. One is to break all contact with the father and family, but I don't think that this will be easy. I also don't want to deprive my son of a father. Option two is to raise our son as Jewish to stop the constant arguments and pressure, but I don't know if this means that I too would have to convert...something I really wouldn't be happy with doing. I really feel overwhelmed. I almost wish that I had kept my pregnancy a secret in the first place. Any advice?

OldLadyKnowsSomething Sat 12-Apr-14 19:20:24

I thought Jewishness is passed on throught the mother, not the father? So your son isn't Jewish.

Would his df want him circumcised? How would you feel about that?

sunflowers27 Sat 12-Apr-14 19:24:08

Yes it usually is. I think because the Father is an only child this may be why they are encouraging my son to be raised this way. Yes which is something I wouldn't be happy about.

NorthEasterlyGale Sat 12-Apr-14 19:29:37

Would it be worth considering making contact with a local Rabbi from the relevant movement and discussing it with him or maybe asking him to mediate?

Perhaps if you find out more about Judaism you may be clearer in how you wish to proceed, and contact with a local Rabbi may give your son a future source of further knowledge about his father's religion, even if you don't decide to raise him as Jewish now.

BosieDufflecoat Sat 12-Apr-14 19:32:44

Old Lady is right. It is passed on through the mother's heritage.

Putting the religion aside, he doesn't sound very nice or supportive. If you aren't in a relationship and he had nothing to do with the pregnancy or birth, I'd imagine him to be in a weak position as goes fighting for custody. You carried this baby; the father just distanced himself. Keep a record of all threatening and critical messages, in case this ever gets legal.

Would raising your son Jewish really, really stop all arguments and pressure? It sounds as though there would always be pressure over something.

Sorry you're going through this.

EuroMaidan Sat 12-Apr-14 20:11:37

"Option two is to raise our son as Jewish to stop the constant arguments and pressure" - it will not stop arguments and pressure, you'll just be digging a deeper hole for yourself by trying to accommodate unreasonable requests plus compromising your own identity/beliefs. Whatever you do he will never accept that you are doing it the right way. He is emotionally blackmailing you to get control over you and if you respond the way he is expecting, the situation will get worse not better. So this is not an option.

CookieLady Sat 12-Apr-14 20:44:54

Euro is spot on. Don't cave now as it'll only get worse.

MariaJenny Sat 12-Apr-14 20:53:33

They are the ones getting their religion wrong. The mother is not Jewish, ergo the child is not. They need to go back to religious school and learn the rules of their religion.

Meerka Sat 12-Apr-14 20:55:00

Talking to a rabbi sounds a good idea.

Other than that, the father's shown little or no interest up til now so I'm afraid his religious views on how he should be raised would weigh very little with me.

If you think there is a real chance he might spirit your son away, I would speak to a woman's organisatoin about it. I believe also that the passport control authorities can be put on high alert for children at risk of abduction?

Threats, however vague, are unacceptable. Other people will be able to give much better advice than me but it may be that given how he's behaving, even though you want his presence in your son's life you might need to think of going NC.

sunflowers27 Sat 12-Apr-14 21:02:40

Thank you for your advice. I'm pretty sure that at the minute I really don't wish to raise my son of a faith I know very little about, especially as I will be the main parent in terms of raising my son. Although I will make an effort to learn more about it so that I can help to educate my son about his heritage when he is old enough.

The 'd'f is a VERY dominant personality and tends to shout his points rather than discuss them. I have previously tried to close the door on him only for him to shoulder barge his way through. He is not violent, but has a very commanding, domineering presence. I myself have a very different personality and find any kind of shouting exhausting, so tend to just sit and pretend to listen.

I think I will write a letter outlining my viewpoint, and decide where to go from there. I will keep a record of all further communication and will look into passport authorities just in case.

AuntieStella Sat 12-Apr-14 21:03:10

As you aren't Jewish, then strictly speaking your son is not (and his father should know this).

Contact with a rabbi is a good idea though. Your DS should learn about Judaism and that is a good way. If his father is aware that you are OK with DS learning about that religion (which he needs to do, in order to make his mind up later) and are facilitating it, then he might back off a bit.

If he is a controlling arse all round however, no amount of reasonable steps will help and you might have to fend him off.

AuntieStella Sat 12-Apr-14 21:04:34

X-ed with your last.

I think I would describe a man who shoulder-barged through a door as violent.

FastLoris Sat 12-Apr-14 21:11:16

Make sure you have as much information about the man and his family as possible, including contact details and connections in Israel if possible.

Document every threat he makes about abducting the child, not matter how veiled. Save any that are made in writing or email. Record times and dates of any made verbally, and whether there were witnesses present.

sunflowers27 Sat 12-Apr-14 21:14:41

Yes, he is the type to act erratically and think he is always in the right. It is his personality which makes me fear that he does truly have the potential to take our son to 'teach me a lesson' or in his skewed view because he might think that I am not raising him 'correctly'. I panic every time the doorbell rings just in case it is him.

HermioneWeasley Sat 12-Apr-14 21:20:58

Is the father named on the birth cert?

Have you got a passport for your DS? If not, apply for it now and keep it in a bank safe deposit box.

Given his threats to take your son away then I would only allow supervised contact from now, if any contact at all.

Anyone who disrespects/intimidates a child's mother is not a positive influence in that child's life. Period.

One thought might be to have direct contact with his parents - if they know they can see their grandson by being nice to you, they might be helpful?

sunflowers27 Sat 12-Apr-14 21:31:41

His parents live in Israel. He has a brother and Uncle and Auntie and cousins over here. His brother is a lawyer, I'm not sure whether that works in my favour or not. Hopefully he would advise 'd'f not to do anything irrational. The father is named. No passport.

HermioneWeasley Sat 12-Apr-14 21:34:46

Right, well get him a passport and keep it safe and don't allow unsupervised contact

trambampoline Sat 12-Apr-14 22:15:13

he cant be very interested in the Jewish faith himself if he is having sex before marriage with a person not from the jewish faith?

THe father is a cock. Don't get sidetracked by any rubbish about needing to 'respect other people's faith' - this man has cherrypicked the bits of his cultural superstition that he thinks entitle him to be obnoxious to you and conveniently ignored all the bits about not having sex outside marriage and/or being kind to other people. His beliefs are a lot less important than the wellbeing of you and your child. Contact Women's Aid or a solicitor experienced in dealing with abusive men to make sure that you and your son are protected - you might need a court order in place to prevent any attempt at genital mutilation, for instance.

Sorry, meant to emphasis: never mind talking to rabbis, talk to a lawyer first. The Jewish faith has plenty of misogynists and there is no need for you to be worried by woman-hating superstitious nonsense. Later on you might wish to introduce your child to Judaism but the time to seek out an open-minded rabbi/synagogue is when you have made sure that the abusive father has been put in his place and you and DS are safe.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 12-Apr-14 23:08:30

OP I'm someone with a non Jewish mother and a Jewish father. The Jewish faith runs through the mothers line not the fathers so your DS can not be Jewish.

My DF's family (not my DF) made my DM's life very difficult and as a result we don't have contact with them. Similarly they picked and chose when to be religious and which bits suited them.

I agree that it's nice for your DS to know about his heritage but I really don't think going to see a Rabbi would be a good idea at this stage. A lawyer would be a better option.

Be careful. Get a passport, hide it. Hide the birth certificate and don't allow any unsupervised contact.

He sounds like an arse, regardless of religion.

kalidanger Sat 12-Apr-14 23:20:23

Is he erratic and bullying about other things? I imagine religion to be just the next thing in a long line of stuff you've had to fend him off about. If he was involved, generous and interested in all other adjective of DS's welfare then this would be something reasonable to consider. As he's not, it's not. Don't be distracted by desperately trying to find something acceptable to say 'yes' to when he's giving you no sane options. Bollocks to the rabbi, frankly.

kalidanger Sat 12-Apr-14 23:21:17

Aspects, not adjectives

KareninsGirl Sun 13-Apr-14 00:37:03

Just to say, there are plenty of mysoginists in all religions, not just the Jewish faith!

Anyway, he does sound quite arrogant. Could I ask, do you agree on other ways in which you parent your son?

KareninsGirl: Sorry, I didn't mean to single out Judaism as the most misogynist - all religion is misogynistic at bottom, but there are both woman-haters and well-meaning desperately-trying-to-ignore-the-sexism believers in all religious groups.

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