Dinner With the Pope in Hell


I love Phoenix in the summertime. 110 degrees… what arthritis. I’m running up and down stairs here just for fun.

Volleyball is disastrous in ways I really can’t begin to explain. The girls are playing horribly, their coach showed up two hours late after sleeping through an alarm clock, numerous phone calls and her assistant coach pounding on her door. She then proceeded to melt down when the girls didn’t play well. The owner of the club isn’t responding to parents anymore and to say I’m dissatisfied is a gross understatement.

I was talking to my co-chaperone about how I wished the club was a little different (you know… like with responsible coaches and all) and she told me that sometimes her friends tell her that they’re liberal Catholics and they wish there would be a more liberal Pope at which point she tells them that what they need is a new religion.

So we went to dinner with the Pope, two coaches and eleven 13 year old girls.


I’m not sure how I’ll deal with the volleyball debacle. I’m finding that some conversations aren’t worth having, some relationships are so fouled that the only option is to walk away.

The girls will never know how livid the parents are. We won’t ruin the season for them but part of me wants to tell my daughter, “That lady… that’s who I don’t want you to grow up to be.”

‘Tis the Season for Atheism and Fights


The saying goes: If you put a dozen Rabbis in a room and asked them to study Torah they will return with thirteen opinions.

Although we are the least observant (and arguably the least religious) of all households Mr. G and I keep Jewish tradition alive by completely disagreeing on how we should observe and what the laws are.

Hanukkah with Mr. G is a kippa-less experience. This is fine, just put your hand over your head, but sadly Mr. G likes to recite the blessings completely wrong (this is a fact as he has the words wrong) and with the same “melody” as a cantor would. I say it’s blasphemy, he says it’s the spirit moving him. The children will have fond memories of Mommy kicking Daddy in the shins eight nights in a row. Just as Rockwell would have painted it if he wasn’t a goy.

Mr. G and I have taken to walking together in the afternoons whenever there is time. I have a few little loops that I enjoy and he’s begun to join me. Walks are wonderful and we talk in ways that we otherwise might not. We’ve begun to talk about Alexander’s Bar Mitzvah. I don’t think it’s necessary, Mr. G, who never misses an opportunity to tell the children that the Torah is a Jewish Fairy Tale, is certain that a Bar Mitzvah is a must.

A Bar Mitzvah seems like a monumental parental burden. In addition to thousands of dollars spent either on Hebrew School or private tutoring it’s a money suck. It’s also a time suck. When is Alexander supposed to have a little fun? My girlfriend just sent me an email explaining how her daughter is studying for her Bat Miztvah and it’s great preparation for studying for the bar exam. ACK.

So I’m walking and asking my husband why we have to do this. Why do we have to spend ten to twenty thousand dollars and two years of our son’s life on a Bar Mitzvah that will tell stories that we all know aren’t true? His answer was simple.

We’re Jews. This is what Jews do. It’s a cultural thing. When I was born I had my dick cut, I knew when my son was born he’d have his dick cut. I had to suffer through a Bar Mitzvah, and my son will too.

The next few years will be interesting.

The Jeezus Culture


Earlier today Jane and her friends saw Soul Surfer. They thought the movie was okay but the mom who took them said, “There’s a lot of Jesus in it.” Jane thought that the movie might be trying to make people Christian.

Part of me wishes I’d have researched the movie a little bit. As a Jewish mother who isn’t overly observant I have a complicated relationship with those who prosthelytize. On the one hand I see them as Jesus freaks who look as dopey as Cheech and Chong once did, and on the other hand I see them as Jim Jonesesque type creatures that want to strip my children of logic and reason.

I love the idea of my kids being surrounded by people who believe in something. I hate the idea of my children being told that their own beliefs are wrong or inadequate. I’d rather my children believe in Freud and Physics than Armageddon and Afterlife. Jews believe in education, we believe in questioning everything, we believe that man judges. We are the people of the book.

I remember growing up in a community that played host to a mega church. I remember being told I was being taken to a concert only to find out that they were rockers for Jesus. I remember being told I’d burn in hell if I didn’t take Him into my heart. Still, if believing makes you a better person I say go for it.

I remember not believing in Hell even when I was tiny. I tell my children that it’s a made up place that people in power use to frighten children. I still believe that’s true, and no quoting of books will convince me that it’s anything but a man-made manipulation.

I’m as likely to believe in an afterlife as I am to believe that my Uncle was once an earthworm. This is not something I’m looking to debate, it’s simply how I see the world.

So when my kids see a movie that’s actually meant to prosthelytize I feel torn. I like that Jane didn’t buy the message, but I dislike that at every turn there’s this need for Christians to try and bring everyone to church with them.

I need something incredibly secular now. I’m taking Jane and a friend to their second movie of the day. We’ll see Water for Elephants. We’ll talk about adultery, animal abuse and running away from home. It’s an All American Story that I can relate to.