I am not a religious person. I do not have specific beliefs about God, I don't go to church or synagogue, or even pray. But I consider myself a Jew. I'm what some would call a "cultural Jew." Being Jewish is my heritage. Celebrating passover, eating lox and dropping an occasional Yiddish word is part of my cultural identity, just like a Swed may serve lutefisk and name their kid Sven.
I'm a pretty bad Jew. I don't know Hebrew. I don't belong to a temple, I didn't marry a member of the tribe, I don't fast on Yom Kippur, and I don't know how to make a brisket. Bad Jew.
But every once and a while, usually around the high-holidays, I decide to make an effort. I hadn't planned on taking the boys to Rosh Hashanah services, but on Sunday evening I was talking to Zack about the holiday and he told me "Well I'm not Jewish. Daddy is Christian." Take a moment and let that sink in.
At first I chuckled and said "Daddy isn't Christian. He just celebrates Christmas." My husband was raised Lutheran, but to call him a Christian is an absolute joke, unless Christianity is defined solely by Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny. We do celebrate those holidays, as it is part of my husband's family traditions, but it bothers me that my kids identify more with Christmas than Rosh Hashanah. (Of course who can blame a kid. Presents and candy versus, services and apples.) I explained to Zack that he is part of both daddy and I, so he is in fact, Jewish. And I decided we were GOING TO CELEBRATE THE DAMN HOLIDAY. And we did. It was lovely.
I kept the boys home from school and we went to the children's service at the Berkeley JCC. It was a half an hour of songs, diaper changes and meltdowns, but it was nice to be there, surrounded by my people. The service was followed by apples and honey, challah and manischewitz wine. I spent the rest of the day simply being with my kids. We went to the book store, we made honey cake, played games and ate more apples and honey. We talked briefly about the idea of a new beginning and what we would like to do differently in the next year. It was a perfect day.
At the end of the evening my husband asked the kids how they liked Rosh Hashanah, and they answered with an enthusiastic "Great!" I knew I had done my job and that for one day, I was a good Jew.
|Getting Evan to "dress up" for the services was almost impossible.|
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