Rites of Passage
On Saturday, we will be celebrating Josh's bar mitzvah. Becoming a bar/bat mitzvah in the Jewish religion is a rite of passage. Of course, not all Jews go down that path. Neither my brother, my sister or I did.
I did go to Sunday school and my parents actually started 2 temples, one in California and one in Maryland ( the DC area ). Both of these congregations have grown to be 2 of the largest reform congregations in the US. Perhaps it was the times, perhaps it was my parents, but if it took any effort to push us to do anything, they were happy to take a back seat. After all, who really wants to attend Hebrew school and go through the strenuous time consuming ritual if you don't have to.
Yet, there was something inside me that told me that when I had kids, I wanted them to go through that rite of passage. It was not negotiable.
I have watched Jessica, then Emily and now Josh go through the process. Perhaps it is the age ( which might be why the Jews chose it ) but there is something transformative about becoming a bar/bat mitzvah. You have to work hard, think about your relationship to Judaism ( not your parents but yours ), and in essence, become an adult.
My Jewish upbringing, although I am certainly part of the tribe, was abysmal. My knowledge of the religion is limited at best. I am more connected to it because it is part of who I am. The kids Jewish education is far superior, thank god.
Fred embraced my desire for this early on. He is as much as Jew as I am. I don't think either of us are big believers but are glad we gave our kids some type of religion upbringing and a connection to something spiritual.
Funny enough, my brother has embraced the desire to have his kids go through the same rituals. I am really proud of all 3 of them. Watching Josh be the last of 3 to complete his rite of passage will be tremendously rewarding for me and Fred. As much as the kids all complained about the whole thing, I know that it will be just as gratifying for Jessica and Emily to watch their brother go through what they went through and get to the other side.
What they do all do with that Jewish part of them will be interesting in the years to come. Regardless, I am glad they have their own Jewish rite of passage.