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A Christian Mom Makes a Bar Mitzvah

I've realized that helping my son become a better Jew has helped me draw closer to my Christian faith.

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Or, as a lesser sage, Justin Timberlake, puts it, "What goes around, comes around." Indeed, I am feeling the wheel of life turn. While I happily drip English sealing wax on the backs of bar mitzvah invitation envelopes  (feeling as prim and non-Jewish as Jane Austen), my mind  is cast back to when I volunteered to raise our yet-unborn children in my husband-to-be's faith.  Though I knew the decision to have kids who went to Hebrew school instead of church would confuse  my old-fashioned Presbyterian parents, I felt that the world could not, should not, lose any more of its radiant Jewish people. I had, in earlier times, been uplifted and healed by Jewish friends and therapists, and I was so grateful for this--and so in love with my husband Steve to boot--that rearing kids who might not feel what I feel about Jesus seemed an acceptable agreement. In truth, I actually didn't (and still don't) see the two religious traditions as all that different.  And despite opinions to the contrary, I know it's not true that only Christians "get saved." How ridiculous.

 

From the Jewish side, however, I could be seen as a rather large problem, since Jewish identity—by tradition and Jewish law—is passed down to children through the mother. But conversion to Judaism never seemed a reasonable option for me. As much as I love the Jewish faith, my fidelity to Christianity is only deepening with time. It’s fine when an unaffiliated parent converts to a faith that strengthens the family. In my case, that wouldn’t have worked well for anybody.

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Amy Cunningham
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