When I was growing up, having my bat mitzvah was akin to wearing clean underwear or doing my homework; it was not up for negotiation. I was forced to adhere to my parents’ wishes, no matter how…twisted I found them. I despised Hebrew school. After all, wasn’t regular school enough? I yelled, kicked, screamed, and cried every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, to no avail. My mom ignored my desperate pleas, dropping me off at temple three times a week to be taught by an ex-cantor who never smiled.… >> Read More
“Mom, I don’t believe in God,” my daughter confesses to me in the 10th row of our conservative synagogue on Saturday, six weeks before her bat mitzvah.
We have spent weeks planning the…reception with a Rock 'n' Roll theme. We sent out the invitations, created the website, pored over her dvar-torah remarks, and now she tells me she doesn't believe in God! For the last five years, we've faithfully attended Shabbat services, volunteered on the membership committee, and stocked the food pantry. I sent her to religious school, bat… >> Read More
In December, my oldest son turned 13. Traditionally, in Jewish households, this is a big deal. But, in our house, it didn’t look like it was going to be. From a very young age, my son had made it…clear that he was not interested in religion. When my son was just 5, he announced that God was only pretend. When he was 7, he refused to go to Hebrew School. When he was 9, he shook his head as his little brother began to learn the Hebrew blessings. So, when his 13th birthday began… >> Read More
I’m standing in a Judaica store in the middle of Scottsdale, Arizona watching as my daughter searches the store from top to bottom for the right tallis, or prayer shawl. Finding the right one is…apparently somewhat akin to finding the right wand in "Harry Potter" or the right wedding dress on "Say Yes to the Dress." She must be at one with the prayer shawl; the prayer shawl must feel at once like it was meant for her, like it grew out of her. Or maybe we could just make… >> Read More
My two daughters share a room. They're 14 and almost 7, so it's not an easy match, but our house is our house, and so they share a room. It's mostly my older daughter's stuff everywhere—she's got…jewelry boxes and perfume and as much makeup as I'll allow. My younger daughter has a playroom for her dollhouses and baby dolls, her arts and crafts and her desk. I was cleaning their room today (I know, I should make them do it, but I always loved when my mother cleaned my room for… >> Read More