Finding a Way to Belong
Like many couples, my Jewish wife and I got married without much discussion about religion. It was the birth of our daughter that raised the question. My wife asked if we could raise her Jewish. I agreed with the understanding that we join a temple, because we needed help to raise a Jew.
As we joined Temple Ahavat Shalom, we found a home for our daughter, but I felt outside the circle. We were active with the Nursery School parents, but everything was new to me. Even the term "Jewish Standard Time" was completely unknown to me. I really felt the need to find a way to belong. Two things helped me down the path to Judaism, Adult Education and the TAS Men's Club.
Adult education helped me become a Jew. The Men's Club helped me become a Jewish man. Through the Men's Club I met other Jewish husbands and fathers. I found Jewish men who revered their religion and Jewish men who considered themselves totally secular. I developed an understanding of their passion for social justice even as some were staunch conservatives while the majority was politically liberal. I learned about how important families were to them. I found that some were athletes and some could care less about sports. I found that some were rich and some were poor. I found that most were educated, but all wanted their children to have the best education possible. Most important, I found that they accepted me.
It wasn't long before I too was a Jew.
Robert Ingrum is a member of by Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, CA.