The Book of Life


I’m not in shul today. The kids are in school.

Every year we’re a little more removed from Jewish tradition. I suppose that’s my fault, I’m the mom, and I come from the more observant home. The kids go to a church school. They say it’s not a church school, but they’re in chapel three times a week and they’re one of a small number of schools that’s actually open today. So church it is on the holiest day of the year.

I tried to explain to the kids that these are the days of awe. I asked them to reflect on the year and to will themselves to be a little better and a little kinder in the next year. “Like a resolution?” One asked.

Like a resolution.

I don’t believe that G-d is sitting in front of ancient scrolls and writing me into the book of life or the book of death. On the off chance that I’m wrong I’m pretty sure I won’t get put in the book of death for not praying in a language I don’t understand. I think he’s cool with me. I’m a good person, flawed, but basically doing good things.

Interestingly my husband, who would rather walk on hot coals than sit in temple, is insisting that our son is Bar Mitzvahed. We don’t really practice at home more than just lighting candles for Hanukkah. I’m more than a little unhappy that Mr. G. wants to have Alexander study a dead language for two years and learn stories that Mr. G. lovingly refers to as Jewish Fables.

As much as I don’t believe, I do. I’d be sad if I had goyim for Grandchildren, but I’m not all that interested in practicing Judaism. Maybe in these days of awe us Gottliebs can decide how much any of this matters.

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