You married into a Jewish family who welcomed you with open arms in spite of the fact that you're not Jewish. However, your spouse just lost someone special and they want you to go to a Kaddish service in their honor. This situation can be hard to understand if you aren't Jewish but is a beneficial way of ingratiating yourself into their family and learning more about this faith.
Why Kaddish Is So Important
The Kaddish is a traditional Jewish ceremony held for people who have passed away. During this ceremony, various prayers and ritual activities will be performed to help see this person off properly. The Kaddish is very, very old and is one of the most essential parts of the Jewish spiritual and religious experience. You may have to attend many if you are married to a Jewish person.
Even for non-practicing Jewish people, the Kaddish is an important element of social life. It serves as a funeral service that brings together family members and that is an essential way of celebrating the life of their lost loved one. Being invited to one by your spouse should be considered a compliment, which is why you should work hard to properly prepare for the situation.
How to Prepare for This Service
If you have never experienced a Kaddish before and your spouse wants you to come to this service, you should talk to the Rabbi who is leading everything. Let them know about the situation and what you can do, as a non-Jewish person, to help. Most Rabbis will be very helpful and will give you an idea of what types of clothes you need to wear, and they may even give you prayers to say during the service.
Just as importantly, you need to talk to others in the family to let them know that you are coming. Most should be okay with this situation, as long as you are respectful and willing to do what they want from you. Some may struggle to accept a non-Jewish person at a Kaddish, however, so make sure that you figure out if anybody objects and try to talk to them about their feelings in a respectful manner.
That last point is the key to success in this situation: respect. You are walking into a very interesting spiritual, religious, and social situation. Much of what happens during the ceremony may seem strange or unexpected to you. Don't judge this situation but simply let it happen as it occurs. In this way, you can ensure that your spouse is happy and that you learn a little more about their culture.
For more information on Kaddish services, contact a rabbi.