May 24, 2019

One Mother's Journey to Judaism

“Like millions of Jews across the county, Jane Kemp has spent the past week celebrating Passover. She attended two Seders — one with friends, the other at her synagogue in the Bay Area city of Richmond, Calif. This year, she was in charge of putting together the ritual platters for the Seder at her synagogue, serving about 130 people.

This wasn’t always the norm for her. After growing up in a non-denominational Protestant church, she made the decision seven years ago to convert to Judaism. With that choice, she joined the 34% of adults who have changed their religious identity, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Her journey started with the adoption of her son, Kieran Kemp. It was an open adoption, so Jane stayed in touch with his birth family. She visited his maternal grandparents in Lake Tahoe often, eventually learning that Kieran had Jewish ancestry.

That came as a surprise to Kemp because Kieran’s birth mother identified as a Wiccan on his adoption papers. That sparked Kemp’s curiosity.

When it came time to enroll Kieran in kindergarten, Kemp chose a Jewish day school. She thought it was the best choice for her son, but she wasn’t sure how she would be received in her son’s new school.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."

"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."

"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."

"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."

"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."

"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."

"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."

"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."

"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."

"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."

"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"

"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."