We went to DC last week to see my family.
Though it was Rosh Hashanah, that’s not why we drove down. We went because the kids had two days off from school, and we jumped on the opportunity for them to hang out with their cousin, also in town.
We didn’t attend services. We didn’t hear the shofar. We did, however, have a nice dinner…mostly to celebrate my brother’s birthday which often coincides with the Jewish New Year.
At one moment, talk came up about my nephew who would soon be getting the date for his bar mitzvah. This got DH + I talking. It’s not a new conversation, but one that has been revisited for over a year…would M have a bar mitzvah?
Both DH and I went through the Jewish ritual. DH went to hebrew school for years while I managed to cram in enough lessons at age 12 to successfully pull off a haftorah portion. M can learn about Judaism whether he has a bar mitzvah or not. But the truth is, DH & I aren’t setting strong examples. Aside from an occasional Passover dinner, there’s very little mention of Jewish history. And to be totally honest, I don’t have much knowledge to share on the subject…a haftorah cram session didn’t inspire much interest.
Living in the Lower East Side, a breeding ground for Orthodox Jews does provide plenty of exposure to the culture. Each Friday evening hosts a hustle of tall, black hats and long coats scurrying off to shul. And our playground is filled on Saturday as they celebrate the Sabbath, their day of rest. And while our outsider perspective only gets a glimpse into their lives, M + GL understand we share something in common…Judaism.
So with another school year of sign-ups behind us, hebrew school didn’t make the cut. Though we’ve still got time, DH and I must decide how high on the list of priorities a bar mitzvah sits. Spirituality is extremely important to me–I’m always trying to implement my practice. And even though I don’t have much to relay to M + GL on Judaism, I have already started sharing spiritual principles…ones that I strive to apply in my life. Hopefully these can help guide them to be their best selves. And maybe even instill a sense of faith.
I came across this article on Spirituality and Religion.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Thank you for approaching the topic of spirituality and organized religion. With religion there is little or no room for open ended interpretation. The guidelines are what they are. With spirituality a person can be a work in progress moving along paths of self growth in various directions with room for change. The things I still enjoy to a degree about religion are: family traditions involving food, songs and happy memories. It’s not an easy balance for anybody with questions.
GGW, I completely see your point. I think traditions provide a wonderful sense of grounding which many religions offer. I also think there are many paths for seekers to discover as long as they stay open. Thanks for sharing your insights. It’s always a pleasure to read your comments!