The Jewish New Year

September 29, 2011 at 7:35 am | Posted in Family Ties | Leave a comment
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L’Shana Tova! Or, Happy New Year to my fellow Jews!  It’s a new year, and the start of the high holy days in Judaism, rounding out in a couple weeks with Yom Kippur.  For my family, it’s one of the few holidays we still get together for and observe in some way — at this point it’s really just about the food.  My parents may go to temple to atone for their sins, and some family members may fast, but beyond that, the holidays have become an excuse to get together over a nice loaf of challah, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve spoken in the past about my exposure to the Jewish religion — Hebrew school, temple, Bat-Mitzvah, prayers, the works, but once I turned 13, I went to temple less and less. Same goes for my parents.  So as I observe this High Holy Day season with my nephew for the first time, I wonder if I will ever reach a point where I feel like I need to reconnect to my religion.

To be honest, in reality I don’t see that happening.  I have a strong respect for the culture and the religion, but it doesn’t impact the way I live my life and I can’t imagine letting it.  But I can’t predict the future.  What happens when I have kids?  I’ve been asked many times, especially since I am marrying a non-Jew, what religion I would raise my kids.  My answer?  They will get the culture from both sides and if the child/children decide later on that religion is for them, then that’s their choice.  I will not impose an expensive religious education on an uninterested child.

This question of religion has also come up in relation to my wedding — will I have a priest or will I have a rabbi perform the ceremony?  A priest was out, per my fiance’s request, and for a while I said that I would have a rabbi, because I knew it would mean a lot to my parents.  Now that I am starting the planning and thinking about all of this as a reality, I’m not sure that I am going to go that way anymore.  My latest thought and idea from other brides I know in a similar situation — get an officiant who will incorporate whatever traditions from both side that we want.

Because to me, I value tradition.  I value family.  I value history.  I take pride in being part of the oldest religion — one than endured unspeakable persecution and has continued to flourish, to create, to build, in the face of resistance. I won’t forget the stories, and I will pass them on to my children. That’s the part that matters to me.

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