June 17, 2019

Raising a Jew-Ish Daughter

“Both my wife and I are Jewish. I get it from my mom’s side, making me an official “member of the tribe” (MOT) according to Israel’s Law of Return. My dad’s side of the family is Christian and, despite plenty of positive exposure to their way of life, I’ve often felt closer to my Jewish heritage. Meeting and marrying my wife certainly contributed to that, and we’re pleased to call ourselves Jews even if we barely observe any religious rituals at all.

In the long-standing tradition of secular Judaism, we’re raising our daughter exactly the same way.

There’s a strand of Jewish culture that appears — based on my personal life experience — unique to the religion. They’re the large number of Jews who maintain a close relationship with the customs that preceded them, even if they rarely set foot in a synagogue.

Lighting the candles on Shabbos, for example, is an exercise I find meaningful when my mom hosts Friday night dinners, but we never do it at home. I’m sure all religions have casual devotees, but I can report firsthand just how common a non-committal MOT is, especially in a big city like Toronto.”

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