On Monday morning, following the massacre of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, my husband Joe, who’s Jewish, donned his reading glasses, bit his lip, and sat at our kitchen table filling out paperwork, so that our interfaith family could join a nearby temple.
We’d had the packet of documents or a while. Lily, our 10 year old, fasted (for the first time) on Yom Kippur, and Joe had found an afternoon kids’ service not far from our home, so he picked her up from school, and off they went. (I’d attended my usual, 90 minute Wednesday morning yoga class while also fasting, so by this time of the day, I’d collapsed into a nap.)
When that service ended up being for preschoolers, Lily and Joe instead got a temple tour from the educational director.
Hence the big white envelope of registration materials on our table.
For Lily has expressed an interest in having a bat mitzvah; and as we’ve explained to her, learning what’s necessary to run a service – a healthy portion of which involves speaking Hebrew – will take a few years.
But I’ll confess that while Saturday’s hate-fueled, anti-Semitic murders gave Joe a renewed sense of urgency about Lily’s Jewish education, I was struggling to get past my anxiety.
Because this is all new to me. Continue reading