Aug 1 2014
“Do you believe in God, Mama?”
A hard lump of something rose up from deep in my chest and got lodged in my throat.
This was the kind of question that pierced right to the heart of things, the kind that forced you to take sides, make a decision, woman up. The kind of question my 4-year-old daughter excels at. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 30 2014
My 16-year-old daughter is an atheist. You can’t imagine how many people–both Jewish and non-Jewish–this seems to bother more than me.
She’s been an atheist for a long time, years perhaps. First, we forced her to have a bat mitzvah–at least that’s what she says. She still resents having to say a bunch of words she didn’t agree with, though I don’t remember her complaining at the time. She seemed to enjoy the DJ, dancers, food, friends, and gifts at her party. And she did an excellent job reading her Torah portion and leading the service. It was a proud day for all of us.
But now she tells everyone she is an atheist; her religious grandparents who attend services every Friday night, her friends, and my friends. Most of the adults generally look at her in horror. They look at me in horror, too. What am I doing, raising a godless girl? It doesn’t matter if the adult she’s talking to is Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. It just seems awful to them. Check off their “this mother sucks” box. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 3 2013
Last month on Kveller was “God month,” in which we featured all different voices exploring how to talk to kids about God. One thing we learned was that the hardest part of talking to kids about God is often figuring out what you yourself believe. So, we posed a simple question to you, our readers: Do you believe in God?
The results are in, and they’re a little bit surprising.
In our (admittedly unscientific) poll of Kveller readers, 60.7% say they believe in God. 18.6% say they do not believe in God, and 20.7% claim “it’s complicated.” The poll included responses from readers in the United States, Canada, and Israel, all the way to Oman, Czech Republic, and South Africa. Read the rest of this entry →
May 1 2013
First up in our month-long series all about God is author Ben Greenman.
Before I talked to my kids about God, I talked to God about my kids.
That was tricky as I did not believe in him. It was 2000, and my wife was pregnant, and one day after dinner we were watching TV, probably something terrible, and I was overcome by a sense of what at the time seemed like dread but which I think, in retrospect, was awe. Both of those are biblical notions anyway and I cannot guarantee that they are not the same thing seen from different angles. I excused myself. “I’m feeling a little tired,” I said. She was happy to keep watching TV by herself–a little too happy. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 22 2013
Weeks before I met my husband, I went to Israel on a Birthright trip and pranced down twisting streets belting out Hebrew songs, swept up in the fervor of the group. I shared my feelings in drum circles and slipped a note into the Western Wall expressing the hope that I’d find love that year.
When my wish came true, the trip was so fresh in my mind that I could recount to Josh in detail the spectacle we’d made of ourselves, dancing through the desert in some proto-flash mob. When he joined me in rolling his eyes, I loved him even more. Read the rest of this entry →