Religion and Race
Syud and Karen with sons David and Benjamin
In 1988, Karen, a film producer from Los Angeles, visited a favorite restaurant in New York, where the manager, Syud, sat down next to her. "I was immediately intrigued," says Karen, the granddaughter of an orthodox rabbi. "I was struck by his intelligence. We talked about everything from politics to women."
He was equally impressed: Six weeks later, Syud, a Pakistani Muslim, asked Karen to marry him. "My first thought was, 'Oh my God! I've fallen in love with a Muslim! What am I going to do?'" Before their wedding—and after their reluctant parents gave their blessing—the couple decided they'd raise their children (now 8 and 13) Jewish. Their older son, Benjamin, recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. Every two years, Karen and Syud take the kids to Pakistan to visit their Muslim relatives.