Interview with “Intermarriage” photographer Yael Ben-Zion

Lise Funderburg interviews INTERMARRIAGE photographer Yael Ben-Zion in the New York Times Sunday Review From today’s interview with photographer Yael Ben-Zion in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times:

Q. In what ways is your own marriage an intermarriage?

A. The obvious thing would be that I’m Jewish and he’s not. He does not define himself as Christian, but we celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. We had a Christmas tree. If you’d asked me before the boys were born if I’d ever have a Christmas tree in my home, as a good Jew I’d have said no.

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 10.46.03 AMOn paper, we cannot be more different. We come from different countries, religions and professional backgrounds, but there are many things that connect us. This is something that was repeated in my conversations with a lot of couples: When you have a relationship with someone not from your own group or where you expect there might be difficulties, you think of the difficult questions in advance. If there weren’t values that were important to us both, we wouldn’t have been together to begin with.

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 10.45.10 AMI speak to my kids only in Hebrew and Ugo speaks to them only in French. I understand that they’re not going to be Israelis unless they grow up in Israel, the same way they’re not going to be French. They are probably going to be New Yorkers. But it’s still important to me not only that they speak Hebrew but that they read and write it.

In both Israel and France, if they aren’t completely proficient in the language, they will be treated as outsiders and will have difficulties talking to families and friends. It’s another challenge to deal with.

Read entire interview and see photo gallery by clicking here.
[all photographs by Yael Ben-Zion]