Mommy and Daddy are doctors. They met in doctor school. Daddy is Jewish and Mommy is Catholic. Julie, Adam and me are Jewish cause Mommy took us to the magic bath. Mommy wouldn’t get in because her Mommy would cry if she got in. Nana Maria and Poppy Mario live in Rome. We went there for Christmas and had spaghetti.
In the summer I visited Saba and Grandma on Cape Cod all by myself. It was fun.
Saba says Daddy doesn’t tell me anything about being Jewish, so he’s gonna do it himself. He reads me a book called “Sayings of Our Fathers”, except he calls it “Sayings of Our Grandfathers”. I told him the book says, “Fathers”, but he keeps calling it “Grandfathers”. I told him I can read books without pictures, but he keeps making up words. We read who is strong. Saba said that a long time ago, when the Romans were beating-up us Jews, we said if the Romans are strong outside, we will be strong inside. Saba says that when it’s time to go to bed I should be strong inside and not scream and yell. We read about who is rich. Saba says that when the Romans took all our stuff, we were still rich and they weren’t cause we had enough and they didn’t. Saba says I have enough toys.
Saba says he made a big mistake. He forgot to teach Daddy the poem that Moses said every Jew has to memorize by heart. Moses said that everyone has to learn the poem in case they get fat and lazy and forget to be Jewish. And on that day, boom! No more strong. No more rich.
Saba says Daddy is a good man. When Daddy went to Haiti to help the sick babies, Saba said he was so proud he cried. Saba said that Daddy acts like a good Jew, but he doesn’t connect dots. I said Daddy can so connect dots, and Saba laughed. He said Daddy doesn’t connect the special dots about where you come from. He said we Jews have a tradition of helping others. Saba said Daddy remembered to go to Haiti, he just forgot to draw the line from one dot to the other dot. I asked Saba if Catholics went to Haiti too. Daddy said all religions teach us to help each other. That’s why he’s angry at Daddy, cause he won’t teach me my religion.
My sister Julie wants to have a Bat Mitzvah. Mommy said maybe, but Daddy said no way. I told Saba and he yelled at Grandma to tell her son to get with some program. Saba’s angry. Grandma’s upset. Mommy told me to leave her alone. No one wants to talk to Daddy. I asked Julie if Daddy changed his mind, but she slammed her door and hasn’t come out for hours. I wish I could go to Haiti or something.
Experts tell us that as many as half of all Jews in the United States are choosing non-Jewish partners. I wanted to imagine intermarriage from the inside. The more I wrote, the more issues came up. I’d welcome your comments on the blog to some of the following questions:
What is the future of Judaism in the United States? Is intermarriage the end of non-Orthodox Judaism?
Are Jewish men good Jewish fathers? Is American Judaism becoming female dominated?
Does the American Jewish community welcome the supportive non-Jewish spouse?
Can this family ever be harmonious?
Many American Jews have lived their lives based upon Jewish values without acknowledging Judaism as a personal source. Does it matter?