Official book trailer for Being Both (2 minutes)
Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family chronicles the rise of a controversial new grassroots movement: interfaith families choosing to celebrate both religions. Miller, a former Newsweek reporter, interweaves her own story with original reporting, and with hundreds of responses from original surveys of parents who chose both religions, and of their grown interfaith children. She describes the formation of communities, across the country, pioneering interfaith education for interfaith children. The result is the first book by an adult interfaith child to advocate for the right of interfaith families to claim, and embrace, both family religions. Being Both is also the first book to give voice to a new generation of interfaith children growing up with formal interfaith education.
Miller makes the case that each pathway open to an interfaith family—choosing one religion, choosing both family religions, choosing no religion, or choosing a third religion—has distinct benefits and challenges. Now, in major cities including Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Diego, more children are being raised “Jewish and something else” or “partially Jewish” than with Judaism alone. What does this mean for these families, for these children, and for religious institutions?
Young couples, grandparents, extended family, therapists, religious educators, clergy, and religious leadership will all find this book helpful in understanding the rise of “doing both,” and how it fits into the rise of the “religious nones,” and the rise of the “spiritual but not religious.” Being Both focuses primarily on the Jewish and Christian families, but includes the stories of Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist interfaith families: the next interfaith wave. Finally, Miller makes the case that interfaith families should be included in, rather than excluded from, the growing interfaith dialogue and interfaith activism movement. Interfaith families live and breathe interfaith collaboration and cooperation, and could become leaders in bringing about a world of peaceful religious pluralism.
Reviews for Being Both
“An insightful examination of one way that religious beliefs are shaping American families.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Miller’s enthusiasm and exhilaration at the prospect of a new generation of interfaith Americans ‘healing the world’ is cause for celebration. Recommended to faith practitioners of all stripes.” —Library Journal
“…Miller gathered the stories of how these families successfully raised children who are happily interfaith and intend to raise interfaith children themselves. Miller concludes this fine resource with a look at the next wave of, this time, Christian-Muslim and Christian-Hindu interfaith families.” —Booklist
“A moving, personal story that opens new dimensions of life in general and religious life in particular that rise out of an interfaith family. Susan Katz Miller writes with the passion of experience and with the integrity of being authentic. Its insights moved me deeply.” —John Shelby Spong, author of The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic
“Religion is never static, and always reflects the needs and mores of those who adopt and adapt it. In Being Both, Susan Katz Miller brings us into the emergent world of interfaith families, families who seek to blend traditions that others find mutually exclusive. Whatever your thoughts on religion and interfaith marriage, this book will help you think more clearly. And if you are in an interfaith marriage yourself, it may help you live more courageously.” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness
“Hallejullah! This is the book interfaith families like mine have been waiting for! Susan Katz Miller serves as a wise, well-informed, progressive, steady, and plainspoken guide to the challenges and benefits–yes! benefits!–of raising children with two faith traditions. Reading this book I dropped tears on the pages because I felt for the first time my family was affirmed and understood and, most importantly, not alone. This is a singular contribution to the conversation on the future of religion in America. Every interfaith family and every religious leader who works with interfaith families should read Being Both.” —Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl
“A gorgeous and inspiring testament to the power of love to not only transcend the divides of faith and tradition, but to bring faiths together and create wholly new traditions.” —Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
“Interfaith families are transforming the face of religion today. People are marrying others from different religions–and they are celebrating the two traditions! For anyone who cares about families or about religion–or both–Susan Katz Miller’s Being Both is a must read.” —Sheila C. Gordon, President, Interfaith Community.
“Engaging, comprehensive, nourishing: Being Both will serve as both guidebook and inspiration for a new generation of interfaith families.” —Mary Heléne Rosenbaum, co-author, Celebrating Our Differences: Living Two Faiths in One Marriage
“Being Both counters both the gloomy outlook and the ‘pick one’ assumption with stats and first-person accounts from couples who have happily and successfully embraced their difference…(an) outstanding, levelheaded book,”–Dale McGowan, author of In Faith and In Doubt
“Being Both is a book we love,”–J. Dana Trent, author of Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk.
“I love this book…(It) proudly celebrates the joys of choosing this path, including the empowerment that comes from families choosing to bring all of themselves to the table in communities that are ready to accept them fully.”–Sharron Mendel Swain, blogger at Adventures on the mindful path
“Being both might contribute to tikkun olam: now there‘s a chutzpahdik assertion,” —Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, writing at The Velveteen Rabbi blog.
“Perhaps the most important contribution of Katz Miller’s work is her collection of interviews with people raised in interfaith homes,” Samira K. Mehta, Religion in American History blog.
“…a fascinating, in-depth exploration of what engaged interreligious, spiritual education can mean…” —Paul Chaffee, The Interfaith Observer blog.
“Miller makes a good case for the benefits of dual-faith life…” —Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice blog.
“…an important, thought-provoking book for Jews and Christians, and interfaith families,” —Judy Bolton-Fasman, the Boston Jewish Advocate.
“Miller provides much-awaited research to back up positive experiences with interfaith education that I do hope many traditional religious leaders will consider,” —Lauren Zinn, ZinnHouse blog.
“…a provocative and heartfelt analysis of the role of religion and heritage in contemporary family life,” Jessie Szalay, The Sisterhood Blog, Jewish Daily Forward.
“For readers who may not be in interfaith families themselves, Being Both is still a compelling read, providing a window into a fascinating segment of American religious diversity.” —Margaret Ellsworth, State of Formation.
“One of the great pleasures of Being Both is that it’s written by a writer—and if you think that’s a tautology, I have a thousand other books for you to read.” —Dale McGowan, author of Atheism for Dummies, Secular Spectrum on Patheos.
“More than a manual–it offers a fascinating and truthful picture of the world as it is. Anyone who is interested in questions about how we figure out who we are and where we belong will find it fascinating. Sue bravely declares what many people already know to be true: identity is not monolithic. We are not all completely one thing or another thing.” —Reverend Heather Kirk-Davidoff, Grounded & Rooted in Love.
“…a great mix of personal experience, stories, quotes, and factual information. It’s easy to read, but it’s also highly informative.”–Vicki Garlock, FaithSeeker Kids
“The primary go-to resource with some very pertinent and helpful information as we navigate new identities and realities as American Muslims,” Saadia Faruqi, Altmuslim on Patheos.
“…the most compelling thing about this book is that it’s not asking permission or begging for acceptance on behalf of interfaith families. Katz-Miller is a first-class disruptor. She is secure in her interfaith lineage, unapologetically claiming a space for herself and her family and for others who are part of this movement,” Amanda Quraishi, interfaith activist.
“This is one book where the temptation to wax poetic is extremely strong, perhaps calling it ‘the jewel in the heart of the lotus’ or otherwise indicating that it is indeed priceless.” Trudie Barreras, Amazon
“There is simply *no book* out there like this one that explores and names our reality, its sticky bumps, its beauties, and the things we need to consider as the kids mature. Must read for anyone marrying a person of another faith.” Amazon reader
“I was so glad to read a book that is so clearly enthusiastic about the experience of raising children in more than one faith. I found myself saying ‘amen’ (silently, in my head, since I was on the plane) almost every page!” Robert Hornstein, Amazon
“…without question a myth busting, highly readable book on a controversial, misunderstood subject.” Amazon reader
“…remarkable…No one has explored the details and nuances of interfaith relationship in our intimate lives like Miller,” Paul Chaffee, commenting on a Patheos blog critique.
With radio producer David Dault, in Chicago.
“Interfaith Holiday Traditions,” Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS, December 23 2005, featuring the Miller family.
“Weston-Wayland Interfaith Action Group presents Susan Katz Miller,” Video recording of a one-hour presentation, November 14, 2013
“Aslan Media Book Chat with Susan Katz Miller,” video interview, January 12, 2014.
“Raising Up Interfaith Families,” video interview, Religions for Peace USA, April 2 2014.
“Interfaith Marriage in America: Transforming Religion and Families,” Berkley Center, Georgetown University, April 29 2014.
Appearance on HuffPost Live, atheists marrying believers, July 1 2014.
“10 Things You Must Know About: Handling Faith Differences Within Your Family,” video for Religions for Peace USA and the El-Hibri Foundation, World Interfaith Harmony Week, February 4 2015.
NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, live appearance, April 3 2015.
“How Clergy Can Meet the Needs of Interfaith Families,” Union Theological Seminary, panel discussion (poor sound), April 6 2015.
“Interfaith Family Today,” panel discussion with Rabbi Scott Perlo and author Laurel Snyder, Museum of Jewish Heritage, April 23 2015.
Appearance in Marriage, Religion & Modern Life, CBS News half-hour program, December 13 2015.
Faith in Our Town: Interfaith Families, WUSA9 (CBS) DC local news, full interview at bottom of the text, February 17 2016.
Featured in several of the Leaps of Faiths video shorts, clips from an upcoming documentary, 2016.
Featured in “All of Us,” a Belgian documentary, 2021.
NPR, All Things Considered, “Interfaith Children,” personal essay, April 2, 2001.
State of Belief, “Raised to Be Both,” Reverend Welton Gaddy interviews Susan Katz Miller, Oct. 24, 2013.
Hour-long call-in radio appearance on the Michael Medved Show, a conservative talk show. Lively debate with host and callers who “completely disagree” with Susan Katz Miller (requires listening to lots of commercials). Nov. 7 2013.
Interviewed by “Mr. Dad,” (Armin Brott) on “Positive Parenting” radio show, Nov. 18, 2013.
NPR, Diane Rehm Show, panel on interfaith families, click “Listen” on top left, Nov. 26, 2013.
NPR, Here & Now, “Raising Children in Two Faiths,” interviewed by Robin Young, Dec. 2, 2013.
Featured guest on Slate parenting podcast, “Mom and Dad Are Fighting: Holiday Swirl Edition,” December 19, 2013.
Podcast. Writers LIVE, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore MD, November 5 2014.
Featured guest on Things Not Seen Radio with David Dault, November 16 2014.
Podcast, Featured guest on The Mixed Experience with Heidi Durrow, August 31 2015.
Podcast, Featured guest on UU Perspective, September 4 2015.
Podcast, Featured guest on Shiksa Mixer, April 28 2016.
Quoted on NPR’s All Things Considered, “With Interfaith Sunday Schools, Parents Don’t Have To Choose One Religion,” May 15 2016.
Podcast, Featured guest on The Texas Conflict Coach, November 15 2016.
Podcast, Featured guest on Judaism Unbound, July 14 2017.
Interfaith Voices, featured guest, public radio, Sept 21 2018.
Occasional host, Interfaith-Ish, biweekly community radio program, WOWD 94.3 takomaradio.org, 2018.
Podcast, Featured guest on Parenting Forward, October 22 2018.
Mentioned in Publishers Weekly, “Interfaith Marriage and Parenting: The Guidebooks,” Sept 25 2013.
Mentioned in “Ask an Interfaith Couple,” on Rachel Held Evans‘s blog, Oct 8 2013.
“Susan Katz Miller’s Being Both,” A review by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, on The Velveteen Rabbi blog, Oct 27 2013.
“Can You Really Be Both?,” A review by J. Dana Trent, Baptist minister married to a Hindu, and author of Saffron Cross, on her blog, Oct 28 2013.
“Religious Schools Teaching More Than One Religion,” A review by Lauren Zinn, ZinnHouse blog, Oct 31 2013. (Reprinted in The Interfaith Observer, February 2014).
“Being Both: raising an interfaith family,” Episcopal Cafe blog, Nov 3 2013.
“What I’m Reading: Being Both” by Sharron Mendel Swain, on Adventures on the mindful path blog, Nov 4 2013.
“With more dual-faith families ‘doing both,’ outreach groups reconsidering approach,” Quoted in wire story by Julie Wiener, JTA, Nov 5 2013. This story ran in the Forward, and in the Jerusalem Post.
Article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (Hebrew only), Nov 6, 2013.
Quoted in “Our Faiths Differ, What About the Kids?” Wevorce blog, Nov 12, 2013.
Book Q&As blog with Deborah Kalb, Q&A with Susan Katz Miller, Nov 15, 2013.
Interfaith Family: How Do You Raise the Kids?, a skeptical column, Christian Science Monitor, Nov 21, 2013
Cited in “Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas,” on Dailymom.com, Nov 23, 2013.
Q&A: Susan Katz Miller on ‘Being Both,’ Jewish Daily Forward, Sisterhood Blog, Nov 25, 2013.
Book Review in Spirituality & Practice, by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.
Book review on State of Formation by Margaret Ellsworth, Claremont School of Theology, Dec 3, 2013.
“Against Interfaith Upbringing,” conservative Catholic critique on a Patheos blog, Dec 5 2013.
“Oh Chrismukkah Tree, Oh Chrismukkah Tree!” Thoughtful essay citing Being Both, on the different approaches to the holidays in interfaith families, by academic Samira K. Mehta, on the Religion in American History blog, Dec 7, 2013.
Quoted in an article describing how Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and atheist interfaith families celebrate Christmas, in the Des Moines Register, Dec 15, 2013.
Essay in response to Being Both from Conservative Jewish writer Judy Bolton-Fasman, on The Judy Chronicles, Dec 18, 2013.
“How Interfaith Work Can be ‘Good for the Jews‘,” by Neal Schindler, written in response to Susan Katz Miller’s Op-Ed in the New York Times, on Spokane Faith & Values blog, Dec 30, 2013.
“…The Case Against Raising Children in Two Religions,” written in response to Susan Katz Miller’s Op-Ed in the New York Times, in the New York Jewish Week, Dec 31, 2013.
“Embracing Both Religions in Interfaith Families,” Q&A by Debbi Honorof with Susan Katz Miller in Long Island Woman, Jan 2014.
“New & Noteworthy,” review in Sojourners, January 2014.
“Interfaith Exchange, Part I: Are Interfaith Families Actually Good for the Jewish People?” A Q&A with Susan in the Jewish Journal, Rosner’s Domain, Jan 2, 2014.
“Interfaith Marriage Literature in 2013: A Year in Review,” by Samira K. Mehta. A review of Being Both and Til Faith Do Us Part, on the Religion in American History blog, Jan 7, 2014.
“The Interfaith Exchange, Part II: What Does ‘Good for Judaism’ Mean?” Part two of a Q&A with Susan in the Jewish Journal, Rosner’s Domain, Jan. 8, 2014.
“The Interfaith Exchange, Part III: Changes in the Jewish Establishment’s Attitude Towards Intermarriage” Part three of a Q&A with Susan by Shmuel Rosner, Rosner’s Domain blog, Jewish Journal, Jan 15, 2014.
Chris Stedman’s Q&A with Susan, “Can atheists and theists intermarry? A Valentine’s Day question for Susan Katz Miller,” Religion News Service, Feb 12, 2014.
“All Relationships Are ‘Interfaith’,” Andrew Sullivan, Daily Dish, Feb 16, 2014.
“When Interfaith Becomes a Family Matter” by Paul Chafee, The Interfaith Observer, February 2014.
“Dual Faith Author and Expert to Speak,” Greenwich Post, March 11, 2014.
Harsh critique by an Israeli blogger, “Jerusalem and the Matzah Virgin,” Connecticut Jewish Ledger, April 9 2014.
“The Pioneering Role of Women in Interfaith Family Communities,” original essay for Georgetown University‘s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, project on Women, Religion and Family, May 30 2014. Also ran on the the website AltFem Magazine.
Quoted in a story on raising atheist/believer children, Religion News Service, June 9 2014.
A conversation with interfaith family pioneer, author, Susan Katz Miller,” Houston Chronicle, Sacred Duty blog, August 26 2014.
Announcement of upcoming book talk and signing in the Frederick Post-Gazette.
Book discussed in “What We Know About Intermarried Families,” by Ed Case, Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Fall 2014.
“Being Both: The OTHER Great Book on Mixed-Belief Marriage,” review by Dale McGowan on Patheos, The Secular Spectrum, September 30 2014.
“Complexity is Common: Reflections on Being Both, Part I,” Reverend Heather Kirk-Davidoff in her blog, Grounded & Rooted in Love, October 22 2014.
“Book Review. Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family,” Saadia Faruqi, Altmuslim channel, on Patheos, November 3 2014.
“Being Both” Review on InterfaithActivism.org, by Amanda Quraishi, November 11 2014.
“Curl Up With a Great Book…Being Both,” Review on Goldenroom.com, November 14 2014.
Quoted in “Interfaith America: ‘Being both’ is a rising trend in the US,” Christian Science Monitor, November 23 2014.
Mentioned in an MPR News (Minnesota Public Radio) feature on interfaith families, November 24 2014.
December 2014 book selection, ReligiousTolerance.org.
Quoted in “Interfaith Couples Choose Both/And,” Christian Century, December 4 2014.
Mentioned in “Can You Have Your Menorah and Your Christmas Tree, too?” by Kate Tuttle, damemagazine.com, December 17 2014.
Quoted in “How do Interfaith Families Navigate the Holidays?” PBS NewsHour blog, The Roundup, December 19 2014.
Mentioned in Steamfeed.com article on Claremont Lincoln University Gathering, January 22 2015.
Quoted in “The Need for an Inclusive Jewish Community,” on The Genesis Prize blog, March 11 2015.
Listed in Fresh Ink, Brown Alumni Monthly, March/April 2015.
Quoted in “How Interfaith Families Make it Work,” on the Today Show online Parenting blog, April 2 2015.
Mentioned on Danielle’s Blog: Exploring Digital Media, April 20 2015.
Mentioned on the I Love T.O. (Toronto, Ontario) website, May 12 2015.
“Include Interfaith Families in the Interfaith Movement,” Guest post, Interfaith Ramadan blog, ABC Religion and Ethics (Australia), July 14 2015.
“Strategies for Supporting Successful Interfaith Families,” Guest Post, Knowing Each Other blog, (UK and Nigeria), July 29 2015.
“Professional Day 2015,” Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Newsletter, Summer 2015.
“Religious Intermarriage Increases,” quoted in The Lookout, an evangelical Christian website, September 13 2015.
Quoted in “Is it Cool to Hang Dreidels From the Christmas Tree?” Huffington Post, December 4 2015.
Quoted in “How to Celebrate Interfaith Holidays” in ReWire Me, December 5 2015.
Quoted in “4 Questions Every Interfaith Couple Should Ask Before Getting Serious,” Huffington Post, February 3 2016.
Featured in The Ish, Digest of All Things Jewish, “Meet…Susan Katz Miller,” March 29, 2016.
Cited in Interfaith Leadership: A Primer, Eboo Patel, Beacon Press, July 5 2016.
Mentioned in “Seven Questions for Kaya Oakes,” Sacred Matters blog, Oct 13 2016.
Quoted in “Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a Time of Fluid Identity,” a report from The Jewish People Policy Institute (Israel), November 2016.
Quoted in “Our Faiths Differ, What About the Kids?” wevorce blog, December 17, 2016.
Quoted in front page story, “Now Bring Us the Yuletide Brisket: Dec. 24 is Chrismukkah,” The Boston Globe, December 18, 2016.
Mentioned in “Christmas and Hanukkah, Together Again,” Samira Mehta, Religion & Politics, December 20, 2016.
Quoted in “Chrismukkah,” The Palm Beach Post, December 21, 2016.
Quoted in front page story, “…Traditions for the Christmukkah Season,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 21, 2016.
Mentioned in “Sharing Faith: Celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah,” BuildFaith.org, December 21, 2016.
Quoted in “Is the Jewish Community Ready for Chrismukkah?” The Times of Israel, December 22, 2016. Photo of author with book.
Quoted in “8 Pieces of Advice for Interfaith Families, from Interfaith Families,” Rewire.org (Twin Cities PBS blog), December 24, 2016.
Quoted in “How Interfaith Families ‘Blend it All Together’,” Entity Magazine, January 17 2017.
Bibliography, Interfaith Journeys, World Faiths Development Dialogue, February 2017.
Quoted in “How Do Congregations Respond to Interfaith Couples?” The Parish Paper, February 2017.
Quoted in “Partner Participation,” Latkes and Lasagna: An Interfaith Blog, February 19, 2017.
Quoted in “Parents, Children Reflect on Movement Toward Interfaith Families,” Christine Fernando, Indiana Daily Student, March 7, 2017.
Mentioned in “Getting Married and Keeping Our Religions,” Laura Free, interfaithfamily.com, May 11 2017.
Mentioned in “Finding Co-Officiants,” Laura Free, interfaithfamily.com, May 26 2017.
Mentioned in “Two Faiths Becoming One Family,” Laura Free, interfaithfamily.com, July 25 2017.
Mentioned in “Positive Outlooks Greet the New Year,” Edmund Case, personal blog, September 18 2017.
Quoted in “After ‘Jewish Man’s Rebellion’ essay backlash, a look at the do’s and don’ts of interfaith dating,” Chicago Tribune, April 4 2018.
Quoted in “My Take on the Jewish Man’s Rebellion,” Edmund Case, personal blog, April 4 2018.
Quoted in “How modern families are celebrating their diversity during the holidays,” Korin Miller, Yahoo News, November 23 2018.
Cited in “Queering Multiple Religious Belonging,” Michelle Voss Roberts, Feminist Studies in Religion blog, November 15 2016.
Cited in “Towards a Sociological Framework of Religious Syncretism in the United States,” Emily Sigalow, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, May 10 2016.
Review, “Susan Katz Miller. Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family,” Magdalena Dziaczkowska, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations (Boston University), Vol 11, No 1 (2016).
Cited in “How Does it Fit? Multiple Religious Belonging, Spiritual but not Religious, and The Dances of Universal Peace,” Linda Mercadante, Open Theology (De Gruyter), Volume 3, Issue 1 (Jan 2017)
Cited in “Playing Many Religion-Games: a Wittgensteinian Approach to Multiple Religious Belonging,” Rhiannon Grant, Open Theology (De Gruyter), Volume 3, Issue 1 (Jan 2017)
Cited in “Interfaith education: A new model for today’s interfaith families” by Sheila C. Gordon and Benjamin Arenstein, Int Rev Educ (2017) 63:169–195, March 24 2017.
Reviewed by David Chodos Natasha Krahn in Consensus, Vol. 39, Iss. 1 , Art. 23, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.