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Interfaith couples finesse the holidays

Dating the son of a pastor was a culture shock for Ali Hassan, a 27-year-old Muslim gay man in Brooklyn.

Dating the son of a pastor was a culture shock for Ali Hassan, a 27-year-old Muslim gay man in Brooklyn.

They started dating three years ago, Hassan quickly realizing his new boyfriend loved “that whole dramatic Christmas,” he said — a big change from fasting and the Muslim calendar.

Gradually — after forgotten Christmas and Eid gifts — Hassan and his boyfriend decided to save presents for birthdays and their January anniversary.

December’s a big time for decisions like these, where holidays mean balancing families and faiths.

For the first time, Anne MacLean, 28, a nondenominational Christian, and Daniel Pardes, 29, who’s Jewish, both committed to Hanukkah and Christmas.

“This year we both said, ‘We’re not going to separate these any more,’” said MacLean.

During menorah lightings last week, a brother-in-law explained the dreidel to her. Pardes will travel to her Cleveland hometown for Christmas.

Communication is key, says J.C. Davies, author of “I Got the Fever,” a new book about intercultural dating.

“When people are deep in a culture, they just have no concept of what that’s like for an outsider,” said Davies, an agnostic dating a Persian Jew.

 
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