Little Children Little Problems-Big Children Big Problems

I didn’t really have that many expectations about how my life would go.  I was pliable, and gullible, and did what I thought was expected of me in order to maintain a certain amount of peace, and to stay within my comfort zone.

 When I graduated from college, everyone wondered when I was going to marry.  I didn’t date much.  My parents set me up with several blind dates of nice Jewish boys, none of which intrigued me.   I finally found the one, at the late age of 24.  We married, and did the appropriate thing, started a family.  We spent the next 25 years instilling in them the same values and traditions we were taught.  The basic tenets and rituals of our religion, which we were taught; to live a righteous life and that the three most import aspects in life were family, charity and good deeds.  I’ll spare you the Hebrew words for same. 

 My husband was raised in an Orthodox environment, while I was raised in a very relaxed reformed temple, yet we presented a united front, placing emphasis on our heritage, our history, our rituals and our belief in one God.

 Both of our children were called to the Torah at the appropriate time, at age 13, to become a Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Daniel first, and then Maddy). We continued to celebrate the holidays, give charity and do Mitzvot both in the Jewish world and outside.  We established a lifestyle, our own family traditions (which followed generations of traditions that were passed down to us), and went merrily about our lives.  We thought we were doing everything right.

 When my son left for college, he fell in love with a Catholic girl.   A sweet, lovely, girl, who shares many of the same values as he, just comes from a different religious background.  He has designs on marrying this young lady.  We are happy for him because he is happy, although we would have preferred if he had fallen in love with a Jewish girl.  I once sat with the ritual director of our Conservative temple expressing my concerns about this at its onset, and his reaction was that “God doesn’t know from love.”

 My daughter went the exact opposite direction, and after spending eight months at a Jewish Seminary for Women in Jerusalem, is now extremely Orthodox in how she approaches her lifestyle.  She studies Torah, needs approval from the Rabbi before she does things, and she keeps strictly Kosher, observes the Shabbat to the letter of the Law, as she does all other holidays.  She is tolerant of the fact that nobody in her family does the same, and I believe is appreciative of the fact that we accept and support her decision.

 My heart aches for the fact that for 55 years I have lived my live a certain way, and because of the choices my two children have made, (and it was certainly their choice to make, after all, they only came through me, not from me), my family traditions will now die with my generation.  I know my daughter will not tolerate the way we celebrate Passover, and I know my daughter-in-law won’t understand it.  What saddens me more, is that my daughter expresses heartache that half her family is not Jewish.  That was something that didn’t matter to her before this transformation. 

Both my husband and I love them both dearly, no matter what their choices, and we love the people they’ve chosen to spend their live with.   So I am left with my original nuclear family, which is aging, and what’s worse, questioning of my children’s choices.  I certainly didn’t expect this, and it is certainly out of my comfort zone.


3 thoughts on “Little Children Little Problems-Big Children Big Problems

  1. Natalie

    Interesting read. It’s hard in life how we have this “ideal world” or “vision” of how things should go or we want to, and it ends up not being the case. Somehow though in the end it turns out better (at least we hope) and the “ah-ha” moment set ins. Maybe not initially…maybe years down the road. I always believe everything happens for a reason (sometimes I argue with myself when I’m not liking the situation right then and there, lol). On a side note, I still hope and wish that your family traditions live on as much as they possibly can and thank you for allowing me to be part of them always!


    1. When I posted it, I was venting… a reaction to something that happened here at home. Perhaps my words were strong… because I know in my heart that my family is solid to the core. I just didn’t want philosophical and spiritual differences to change that. I don’t think they will… Thanks, Sweetie, for the feedback!


  2. I suppose it is important for some people to observe traditions and rituals. I don’t see how that does very much toward helping others, however. In all my religious studies , I have ditched most of the books and now govern myself by two simple callings: never be the cause of someone’s misfortune and never miss an opportunity to perform a charitable act. That’s all the religion I need. I suggest others try it. I am comfortable with the idea that this is all God desires from us .


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