Sunday, May 16, 2010

Making and Keeping Jews


Chaviva on her blog "Just Call Me Chavia" posted a discussion point, subtly and artfully may I add, about inter marriage and Jews...
http://www.kvetchingeditor.com/
below is what I wrote for a comment.....

ok....I think it is never so clear cut.....my daughter is paternally Jewish...she had a mom who was not Jewish(me....Jew by choice in 2nd marriage)

I believe she was raised with loving care exposed to all her root spirituality and ethics.

although not "Jewish" to most, she identifies with that part of her being.... I believe if her future life involved marriage to a Jewish man there would be a strong possibility of her becoming Jewish in the formal way...if not a Jewish man she is strongly grounded in her root spirituality that she would still be able to pass on good and strong values....and her offspring would be exposed to her Jewish roots...and supportive of the Jewish people.

my rabbi talks about "keeping our kids" all the time...and I get it....I understand the fear and concern...

But may I add that the Jewish people loose as many of their youth from totally Jewish families...

perhaps there is something to be looked into there...I watch it, many folks are involved enough to "get" the bar mitzvah. they "send" the kids to do the schooling but after the party....the kids AND the parents are gone.....

finding ways to make a Jewish life valuable beyond several holidays a year...to make our communities, open to all, inviting and a worth while investment.

I could go on and on...but it starts with the parents...and how they choose to raise a child, with what values? My daughter may not be Jewish to most, but I can tell you she is more "Jewish" in her values, respect of tradition and holidays than a lot of "Jewish" 21 year olds I know.

2 comments:

Chaviva said...

It's interesting, because to a lot of these people the Reform or Liberal movement appeals to their tenor: just enough to get through the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, and then be done. The Reform movement's original idea was that Judaism was just a religion, no more, no less. They have since retracted that, identifying with Israel and the cultural aspects of what it means to be a 24/7 Jew. The unfortunate thing about the reorientation (I believe it was in their 1970s platform), is that it hasn't really flowed into the greater community.

Of course, you're right, that a lot of Jews go off the "derekh" from their very religious families. People are driven away by too much and too little. The question is how to find a middle ground that keeps them just interested enough to make them question and explore more Judaism.

It's such a tough thing within the global Jewish community right now. I've seen a resurgence in MY generation of people who are coming back to Judaism, in a religious and all-encompassing way, in force. There is a lot of interesting discussion that perhaps its the lost souls of the Holocaust, reborn in grandchildren, finally finding their way. I think it's a beautiful idea, so who knows.

It sounds like your daughter has herself figured out with confidence, and that's important. I know some girls in her position -- Jewish father, non-Jewish mother -- but who carry around a hefty, hefty chip throughout the years, eventually converting via Orthodox auspices, but still holding on to so much anger because "I was a Jew, I'm still a Jew, why'd I have to do this?" Tell her not to get jaded, to own her identity, and to always know that she has a neshama hiding in there :)

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Dunking Rachael

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