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Aug 25 2011

Mommy, What’s Being Jewish?

By at 2:33 pm

little girl with a question“Mommy, what’s being Jewish?”  “Why don’t I go to Sunday School?”

These are some of the questions that my daughter has started to ask and I tend to dodge the bullet and say “Go ask your Daddy.”  My children are 6 and 4 and they are starting to ask these types of questions.  They are making friends and when some of their friends do things differently, they want to know why. To be honest, these make me pretty uncomfortable.

I grew up in Minnesota in a very Christian household. I was baptized, attended Sunday school, and got confirmed.  When I moved to Los Angeles, I had never met a Jewish person in my life and then I got a job at Jerry’s Famous Deli and I learned very quickly who Jewish people are, what they liked to eat, and my eyes were opened.  As luck would have it, I went on to marry a Jew. Well, I guess that depends on what you call Jewish. He does not wear a yarmulke, we do not have a menorah, and we do not celebrate Passover. When my mom told my grandma that my boyfriend was Jewish, she said, “Oh, Jewish men treat their women really well.” (Stereotype one of many.)

Our house is a little confusing when it comes to religion, faith, and beliefs.  I do not think I am educated enough to try to explain these things to our children, which is why I am here.

Trying to be married to someone who is Jewish and keep a positive relationship with my Mom is somewhat of a challenge.  My Mom is pretty upset that my babies were not baptized or that they do not go to Sunday school.  She will ask me things like “Aren’t you going to teach the kids about Baby Jesus?”  This makes my husband go nuts.  He actually caught her telling our daughter about going to heaven to see baby Jesus. That didn’t go so well.

I want to teach my children about the world and different religions and beliefs but I am not sure how to do this when I do not have a strong belief one way or the other.  My husband likes to just state the facts.  I know I believe in tradition and I want our children to have a solid foundation of something, but I am just not sure what that something is.

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