Just a few three days after my son’s bar mitzvah, it felt like it had been a lifetime. For three weeks, I didn’t sleep. For three days I couldn’t eat. After the service— which was beautiful,…natch—my sister-in-law literally pulled me away from a conversation I was having to sit at the table and eat. As I sat there with my family, I said, “one down, two to go.” Not two more kids: two more weekend events. For quite some time, I have been planning to write this article. These were… >> Read More
“It’s Too Expensive To Be Jewish” is the title of a Los Angeles Times personal essay written by a mother who, in the course of trying to figure out how to afford bar mitzvah tutoring for her…son, decided that being Jewish is, well, too expensive (exemplified by the high cost of synagogue membership and High Holiday tickets). Her conclusion is one with which I vehemently disagree–but that is in no small part because I vehemently disagree with her feelings about the underlying value of being Jewish. Admittedly, I’m coming at this… >> Read More
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