Interactions With Sister About Her Non-Jewish Husband



Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I come from a mainstream frum, yeshivish family. My older 30-year-old sister is unfortunately not religious. She lives out of state but comes to visit on occasion. Around a year or two ago she came for a weekend and told me that she was in a relationship with a non-Jew. I have a very hard time with conflict and uncomfortable situations, and so I acted interested and happy for her. I’ve never spoken to her spouse, and she only mentions him infrequently. She also told my parents about her relationship, and it broke their hearts. They maintain loving contact with my sister and speak to her often, but refuse to mention her husband and will not interact with him. At this point I believe my sister has been with him for 5 or more years.

I call my sister and stay in contact with her, which is important to me because I value family and because I genuinely like her as a person. When she mentions her husband, I don’t know what to do. I feel sick at the thought of telling her “what you’ve done is very bad and you shouldn’t talk to me about it.” I also feel bad being dismissive or ignoring any mention of him. She recently invited my younger sister and I to visit her, but that would raise new complications regarding her husband.

I want to do the right thing. I have very strong hashkafos but simultaneously feel compassion for my sister and I don’t know how to balance the two. What is the appropriate way for me to deal with this situation? If you can include practical guidance, that would be much appreciated. I would like to know what the Halachic and Hashkafic approaches to my situation are. Thank you so much again for your time.


Sara I.



  1. My heart goes out to you and I truly empathize with the impossible situation that you find yourself in. Perhaps it would be simplest to begin with what is clear to me. In my personal opinion, you and your younger sister should not go to visit your sister. She is living a life that is contrary to everything that Yiddishkeit holds dear, and to go to visit her means giving tacit approval to her lifestyle. Your sister knows this and understands it very well.

    What should you do about conversations that you have with your sister that include her husband? I think that you can react in a pareve fashion. Not to ask for any details about what she tells you but not to ignore either. However, I do feel that if she starts to tell you things that are of a more personal nature, you should gently point out to her that there is no reason for you to know what she is telling you, and that you would prefer not to know.

    May Hashem bless you with the insight to say the right words at the right time.

    Best wishes from the Team