At my wedding we had mariachis. That’s because my husband, Jonathan, is Latino.
We also danced the hora and got hoisted up in chairs. That’s because I’m Jewish (see above).
It was fun for me and Jonathan to pick and choose what rituals we wanted to draw upon from each of our cultures when we got married. But then, when we had a kid, it got trickier. We felt committed to helping our daughter identify as a Latina Jew. But neither one of us is very steeped in our ancestral traditions—so how would we provide an understanding of those traditions to our child? And then sometimes we’re like, why do we even care so much?
Well, Amy Choi and Rebecca Lehrer of the Mash-Up Americans project have spent a lot of time thinking about these questions—questions I bet a lot of you have been asking yourselves.
Amy is Korean-American, married to a Colombian-Mexican-American; Rebecca is a Salvadoran Jew, married to a white guy whose family has been in the States for generations. They’re both moms.
Here’s Rebecca and her husband Neil signing their ketubah, the traditional Jewish marriage contract.
And here’s Amy’s daughter Seraphina at her dol, the Korean ceremony in which the baby chooses an object that represents their future. (No pressure, baby!)
Amy and Rebecca started The Mash-Up Americans website and podcast, to help families with mashed-up cultures figure out how they fit in with each other—and with the world around them. Tune in today as Amy and Rebecca help us navigate language, baby naming, and birth rituals in hyphenated America. With, of course, some salty Yiddish insults along the way.
More Mash-Up Americans
We love Amy and Rebecca’s work and we know you will, too. Check out this video for more info about why they started their project.
Check out this episode of the podcast to hear… me! And also my husband, Jonathan. I talk about stuff there that I’ve never said on this show before… and Jonathan and I even give marriage advice. Yes, after 10 years, I am now officially qualified to do that.
And here are some more of our favorite episodes: This one will tell you all about the history of baby naming; this one is about Spanglish (it is both Amy and Rebecca’s best language); and this one is just super fun.
What traditions are you taking from YOUR culture?
Which ones could you do without, and which ones are you reinventing? Comments, please!
Headshot of Amy and Rebecca: Matt Sayles Photo
Amy’s Wedding: Studio Castillero