Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Musing on Rosh Hashanah (and the sweetness of life)…

I am not Jewish.  But I married a man from a Jewish family.

The thing about marrying someone from a different background, is you have an excuse, obligation, opportunity to become a part of something that you otherwise would not have explored.  Instead of quietly watching as the Jewish High Holidays float by, and wondering what they are observing, and how they are celebrating, suddenly I am a part of they, and the questions become, what are we observing?  How are we celebrating? 

Having a baby makes people think about holidays.  Some of the reason for that probably comes from within - our personal desire to “pass on” something worthwhile and meaningful to our child.  But another part of the reason definitely comes from everywhere else.  An interfaith union sometimes has the power to strike fear, concern, and bewilderment into the hearts of those who know the couple.  “But what will she be!?”  “How are you going to raise her?”  “What if she is confused?”  And my answers to those three questions are “Whatever she wants to be.”  “With love and care.”  And “She will absolutely, most definitely be confused.”  Because childhood is confusing.  Life is confusing.

I think all parents, and not just those in an interfaith relationship, are asking themselves the same questions too.  And really, how many people are raising a child with someone who believes THE EXACT SAME THING that they believe?  I don't think that exists.  That’s kind of like marrying yourself.  It might be easier, maybe, but it sounds boooooooring!
I know that there might be some people who will think to themselves (or sometimes not just to themselves) that my daughter is not Jewish because I, her mother, am not Jewish.  But today I’m choosing not to focus on official labels, and instead I’ll be taking this opportunity to explore how this time can be meaningful to my family.
So as I muse on Rosh Hashanah, I’m looking forward with hope, and good intention toward the year ahead.  And I’m reflecting on the year that has passed.  There’s a ritual that some Jews practice called tashlikh (sorry about the wikipedia link, I know there's probably better info out there), where your sins from the previous year are symbolically cast off into the water (a river, stream, lake, etc.).  Since we live just a couple blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan, I think it might be the perfect place to spend a little time in the next few days.  I’ll be thinking of ways in which I can be more loving, more patient, more generous, and more kind in the coming year.  And I’ll be reflecting on the times that I’ve been hurtful, impatient, selfish or ill willed… and casting them off into the water (I will likely dramatically mime this action, which will cause my husband to lovingly roll his eyes at my demonstrative nature).  With my baby and husband by my side, and family and friends in my thoughts, I’ll make a little promise to the world to nurture the sweetness in life for the coming year.  Then we will come home and will eat apples and honey (everyone except the baby!  Don’t worry, we’ll wait on the honey 'til she’s at least 12 months), I will make sweet raisin challah french toast for dinner, and we wish you all L’Shana Tovah (for a good year!)!
L'Chaim - today's blogpost title is a song from Fiddler on the Roof, it means "to life!" which is not what people say to each other on Rosh Hashanah, but is as close as I could get :)


  1. Beautifully written and a beautiful sentiment. Thank you for sharing Lynnette! Sending lots of love your way, today and everyday!

    1. Thank you, Kim. We appreciate the lots of love! Back at you :)

  2. I really like this one, Lynnette. :)