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In the end, grandparenting experts agree on one thing: loving relationships trump religious beliefs. For Joan Hawxhurst, 40, founder of Dovetail Institute and a Methodist married to a Jew, her father's reaction to her raising Jewish children (even though she did not convert) was initially hurtful. He refused to support his granddaughter Sarah's Judaism for the first three years after she was born. Finally, that December, he softened and sent a Hanukkah-themed Tower of Treats from Harry and David. "He couldn't use words, so he did that instead," Hawxhurst says. He died two years later, and although they never discussed his earlier feelings, that small gesture made a world of difference. "I know in his heart he never fully accepted having grandkids of a different faith," she says, "but as a parent myself, I also understand that his actions were guided by love for me and my family."