It’s estimated that 58 percent of all Jewish marriages since 2000 are interfaith, and yet there are very few holiday cards that embrace more than one faith. That’s where Alexis Gewertz comes in—her interfaith card line, Happy Challadays, provides a fun alternative for couples who celebrate Easter and Passover, or Christmas and Hanukkah. I asked Alexis how she came up with the idea for her business, and how it’s been received so far.
What was your inspiration for your interfaith card line?
I come from a mixed home: my mom was devoutly Catholic and my dad was a Jewish American raised in the 1950s. And I’ve had a Catholic boyfriend for the past eight years. And I love cards! I always had trouble finding cards that were appropriate for both of us. So I finally decided to make them myself. I take care of the business end, and my friend and business partner, Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder, who is also from an interfaith family, is the artist of the cards. We started selling them at fairs, and people were so excited to finally have choices when it came to sending holiday cards.
I noticed the Christmas illustrations on your winter line weren’t religious—you featured Santa Claus and reindeer. Are you planning to keep it light for Easter and Passover?
We are keeping it light. My boyfriend actually asked the same question. A lot of families celebrate both, and we’re trying to make it more welcoming. People loved our designs, and we’re trying to embrace both traditions. With Easter and Passover, we didn’t want iconography, and Jesus can make some people feel uncomfortable. So we’re keeping it lighthearted: a seder plate with colored eggs, and an Easter basket with colored eggs and matzah. It’s cultural fun and lightheartedness.
Have you had any negative feedback about your cards?
For the most part, we’ve had fantastic feedback. We heard from my mom in Ann Arbor, Mich., that the people in charge of a holiday bazaar voted on it and refused to sell the cards. It was a little surprising because the event was in an interfaith space. It turns out the pushback came from the head rabbi in charge. But what the Jewish community can do to welcome us will make for a stronger community.
So, Purim or Halloween?
I have to say Halloween, because I grew up in a Chicago neighborhood that had 2,000 kids come to it. I have a soft spot for the holiday as a result. My mom had an equation for double-dippers to determine how many visitors we would get!