Double the Presents?!

My father was raised in a Jewish household. He had his Bar Mitzvah when he was 13, he went to synagogue, celebrated the holidays, and at one point spoke a little Hebrew. By a little, I mean enough for him to read the Torah to complete his Bar Mitzvah.

My mother was raised in a Methodist Christian household. Went to church on Sundays, participated in a church group, and was an active member of her church.

When it came to their children, we were mixed. On surveys or dating websites that ask your religion, I also put ‘other.’ When I was young, I was baptized, but that was it. I never went to church or synagogue, unless grandparents were in town and wanted to go, but still, it was scarce for my family to be in any holy building on the weekends. You would think that a child not having a solid faith would mess with them, but it didn’t. It did the complete opposite. Having the opportunity to grow as a person first before I found faith allowed me to question my views and to see the diversity in the world as what brings us together, and not what should be used to tear us apart. Every year since I can remember my family has celebrated: Easter, Passover, Yum Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Christmas. No holiday is above another, and my childhood was about learning the various traditions and reasons behind each holiday. While I was unable to put a religion besides other on surveys for a long time, a year ago I participated in a Jewish Birthright trip to Israel. There I felt connected to the Jewish culture more than anything. I learned that while religion is a factor in Judaism, the culture is a more significant factor, and because of that, I completed my Bat Mitzvah ceremony next to the Western Wall in front of 40 of my new closest friends.

To this day I occasionally mark ‘other’ as my religion on surveys and dating websites, but that’s not to discount what I completed at the Western Wall, it is to commemorate my family and how both religions raised me.

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