We live in a very diverse neighborhood, though there is a large population of Modern Orthodox Jewish families. We are a not-too-religious interfaith family - D is a non-practicing Christian (celebrates Christmas and Easter, but not religiously, just as "holidays") and I am a reform Jew (go to synagogue on the High Holy Days, celebrate other major holidays in the home, but do not keep kosher, speak Hebrew other than in services/prayers, etc). Neither of us are too keen on organized religion as a whole, I would say my connection to Judaeism is definitely more cutural than religious.
I grew up the only Jewish child in my neighborhood and elementary school, and was friends with all different kinds of kids growing up.
There is a little boy who lives in our buidling part-time (parents are divorced, father lives in our building, mother lives 2 blocks away and they have split custody). Our babysitters are very friendly, and our boys often have playdates together. There are lots of other kids, who are friends through this other boy, that also are included in the "group".
My sitter today told me that the boy's mother has requested that her sitter focus his playdates only with other "religious" families.
I absolutely respect her desires, and understand (to a point) where they are coming from....however, it is philosophically so opposite from where I am coming from. Also, I hate to think (even though it won't be the first time) that my child would be excluded from something/someone simply because of ________ (insert religion, gender, ethnicity, orientation, etc).
I think part of the issue is that it is being filtered through our babysitters rather than through us directly as parents (the mother and I don't know each other at all)....but still, I am hurt by it. Since their are other kids in this "group" are also religious, I am always very sensitive to that. I have snacks available in my home that are kosher (single serve kosher packets), and I don't let my sitter bring non-kosher food into their homes.
I think the thing of it is that I was exposed to so much at a young age (religions, ethnicities, etc) that it is "normal" to me to be surrounded by diversity...and it is one of the things I like the most about being in a large city.
Also, I bore the brunt of rampant anti-semitism growing up - swastikas drawn on my locker, pennies thrown on my lawn, truly awful slurs, etc - by parents who raised their children to be small-minded (and I do blame the parents when it is elementary/junior high kids doing it, since they have to learn it somewhere). It was really hard to be the "token Jew", and to feel the responsibility of debunking stereotypes and explaining cultural differences or religious significance etc.
In moving where we did, I was happy to know that we would be in a neighborhood with a lot of other Jewish people so my kids wouldn't have to feel what I did growing up....I think it is even more hurtful now, to be excluded for not being Jewish enough.