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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
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Living The Pew

My husband tried to raise the children Jewish. Now grown up, his children eschew all Jewish traditions and values.
walking away

“But they will be Jewish,” I told him. “I’m Jewish.”

“What about the other kids?” he asked us.

“They are not Jewish,” we responded. “Unless they want to become Jewish.”

“But they are Jewish,” he insisted. “They are Reform Jews.”

Not according to halacha. And even if they consider themselves Jewish, they will not – again, according to the Pew report – be the progenitors of my father-in-law’s Jewish heritage.

Abraham had a non-Jewish son. So did Isaac. And they became mighty nations, though not Jewish nations. Only one son, Jacob, created a family that was destined to become the Jewish people. Ironically, my little boys can trace their paternal lineage directly to Levi, Jacob’s son. These are our Jewish children. These children will respect and emulate their father’s core Jewish values and Torah learning. These children will look forward to sharing the Jewish holidays and saying Shema and Mah Nishtanah. They will respect the holiness of the land of Israel.

These boys, God willing, will be my husband’s first to not only identify as Jews but as Levites – and will sing on the steps of the Beit HaMikdash. They are being raised as Jews because they are Jews. And with God’s help they will have Jewish offspring of their own and continue to build the family and the Jewish nation.

About the Author: Daphne Bergstein is a writer whose work has appeared in national parenting and lifestyle publications. She has used a pseudonym for this article to protect the feelings of everyone involved.


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My husband tried to raise the children Jewish. Now grown up, his children eschew all Jewish traditions and values.

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