The other night, Jessie and I were watching “Four Weddings.” Strangely addicting show, especially given that I had a backyard, very simple wedding at my mother’s house. I totally can’t relate to spending all that money on one event, but still am oddly pleased by watching it. So we were watching the show, and out of nowhere, she said “Mommy, should I have a Jewish or a Christian wedding?”
I paused the show, and rather logically pointed out that as we were not Christian, she’d probably be better off having a Jewish wedding. As we are, in fact, Jewish. She was concerned about hurting my side of the family, apparently. I assured her that I had already fought that battle, and that she didn’t need to worry about that – that my side of the family loved her (well, the ones that talk to us, anyway) and would be thrilled to attend her wedding, regardless of it was Jewish or not.
I talked to her for a long time about religion and spirituality and the path that I had taken to arrive at converting. The reasons why her dad and I wanted to raise our children in the Jewish faith and why we believed the way that we did. The belief in one God, the concept that we are obligated to constantly be trying to make the world a better place. The concept that the world is a wonderous, magical place, and we do honor to God by recognizing and celebrating that fact. That we are obligated to help others, that actions count more than beliefs and that we are created in God’s image. That God is neither male nor female but so much more than both. That we are expected to study and learn and think and to be grateful for all that we have, to not take the blessings that we have been given for granted.
And it seems odd to me to be still discussing this – because converting to Judaism was such a long, drawn out, overly analyzed and discussed process for me. Shouldn’t she just know she’s Jewish? I mean, we have Shabbat dinner every Friday, well, most Fridays. We attend services, well, we used to, anyway. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we had sort of fallen out of the habit of really, really making Judaism a daily part of our lives.
So we’re making more of an effort, Marc and I. Because the kids are only going to grow up with a strong sense of their Jewish heritage if we give it to them. I love Shabbat dinner on Fridays. I love attending services, I love taking time during the day to thank God for all I’ve been given. We’re going back to no television/no computer on Shabbat, we’re going to make sure that at least one parent, if not both of us, attend services on Saturday while the kids are in Hebrew class. Things are only special if we make them so, and I’ve never regretting focusing more on Shabbat. In fact, it’s always something I’m profoundly grateful for, when I make sure to really take the time to celebrate the way it’s meant to be celebrated.