Why is raising my children Jewish important to me? Knowing I just learned at 43 years old 3 kids later, how the Mezuzah necklace my father has worn since his Dad died (from radiation emissions during the big one during World War 2)when he was only 23, contains the verses from Deuteronomy commanding the Jewish people to hang a Mezuzah on our doorposts and love God with all our soul instead of new rules on Real Time with Bill Maher.
Let’s start with my time at a Conservative Synagogue for the High Holy Days, I’m not a member of, to make peace with my anger issues with God for the start of Rosh Hashanah 2019. The English translated passage impacting my spiritual rearing of my children the most described the most indestructible type of faith in God. As a mixture of faith amassed from proactive individual study and personal inventory of your own internal probing experience combined with the faith which is commanded to learn in the form of memorized Haftorah portion by your Jewish Dad from Pond Place. Whose father was the President of his Synagogue in the Bronx, long before the new Yankee stadium was built, otherwise known as The House That Gentrification Built.
It is this rock-solid, unbeatable, Road Warriors, tag-team combo of God commanded, Jewish dad pusher man faith, combined with a gratitude inflected, soul rebel infused, introspective path from within I’d like to set my three children on, without my constant hammering of you better obey or else suffer the rage of God next time you think it’s funny to hit daddy in the nuts, idolize Miley Cyrus or kick your sister’s private parts in the bubble bath.
Raising my kids Jewish was important to me even before I learned how my mother in law force-fed my kids Eucharist at her Ukrainian church during Ukrainian Christmas, which is never kosher (not even in Bill Maher’s book, despite him not believing in God at all thinking, it’s all just meaningless fake news pageantry bullshit in the first place).
Just to clarify for clueless Jews who didn’t intermarry into a family with a Ukrainian mother in law, who writes God Bless on every card imaginable, even the one for the Biden family who happen to live in the same neighborhood in Delaware.
Yeah, so Eucharist also means communion, which is where you kneel down to eat the wafer, acknowledging it as the body of Christ, ensuring your entry into a Christian defined Heaven as some sort of loophole if your Jewish blood containing children from dad’s side were never baptized out of the womb. Because according to some factions the Christian faith, without a Baptism you can’t get into Heaven, case closed. But wouldn’t God, (regardless of whether you accept Jesus as his or not), prefer you come to love the totality of the all-mighty after you developed some life experience under your belt, experienced some trials and tribulations or been blessed to be in the delivery room for not one but all 3 of your unplanned bundles of sunshine?
Raising my kids Jewish is important to me because I do believe in the power of prayer because I’ve only acknowledged a Jewish God in my life forever and he’s always come through for me when I needed him the most. One summer, after my 1st time big time request of God in the form of potential summer romance, he gave me my summer wind Katie on the Cape, making this 20-year-old virgin at the time a very happy man, by teaching how happy I was capable of making another. My three children only reinforce that mantra every day, especially my youngest, baby Samuel, AKA, Chosen Curls Was Bound To Woo. Funnier dad, happier baby, baby.
Also, after my wife was in labor forever with my 1st kid, Matilda, AKA, Grace In Motion, I prayed for God to ensure my knock-kneed putz embedded DNA skipped a generation. Now, my daughter is breaking high jump records at school at 8 and conducting parent-teacher gymnastic school update conferences with her daddy, regarding progress reports involving her 2 adoring, younger brothers in training under her hardcore, future Olympian gymnasts in training supervision. I also had cousins on my father’s side who were killed in the Holocaust for the crime of being Jewish. For that reason alone, I feel compelled to raise my kids Jewish knowing, my children are able to live out dreams they never could.
Raising my kids Jewish is important to me because my funny Jew bone is a tremendous source pride for me, which all 3 of my kids inherited and no Nazi or hate speech police monitor at Facebook and beyond could ever take that away from me. Last, I tell my daughter who already had her mikveh, ritual bath conversion ceremony, how I felt ostracized from the Rabbi on the Bimah during Rosh Hashanah services over the past two days. The Female Rabbi’s passive-aggressive acknowledgment of my presence there without my wife and kids, stems from a past preliminary conversation about getting a mikveh conversion ceremony for my hospital circumcised sons since she became aware of the fact of how my wife had no plans of converting to Judaism. My mom converting and no longer attending synagogue after she converted for my Dad didn’t help the case for my wife converting if I chose to push the issue.
Still, I never asked my wife to convert, stating, “You don’t want to covert fine, but I want to raise the kids Jewish.” She replies, “But we have to raise the kids on a pescatarian diet, fish, veggies and cheese. I say, “Jesus the fisherman was the original super Jew, sold.”
Still, it was impossible to not feel a look of shame descend upon me from the Rabbi on back to back days of services for Rosh Hashanah like I was some unwanted, resurgent herpes sore on the spot during services. Blissfully unaware of almost the entire 614 commandments such as seeking out consulting services of Fortune Tellers in LA only to learn my Chakras were more clogged than my Freshman one-hitter.
Also, learning the other big no, no in Deuteronomy is for Jews not to marry gentiles. The logic behind this Jewish law is the fear of non-Israelite women turning your Jewish blood infused kid’s hearts to their Gentile God and prophets. I’m not freaking out over this prospect yet, knowing my kid’s initial reaction to stain glass window displays at the Met was, “Pretty Dada, but too Churchy”.
Also, my daughter stating, “Who do these Rabbis think they are, defining whose more deserving of God’s love than the other. They’re not God Dada.”
God could use more hardcore spiritual warriors like my daughter on his side.
Previously Published on Do It All Dad