Tangerine Tango Taste #5: Finding Faith

Tangerine_Tango-_Wom_Cover_for_Kindle.jpg

This is the last glimpse of Tangerine Tango! I hope your curiosity is piqued and you’ve ordered a  few copies! It’s healthy, like tangerines, sweet and sour like many citrus fruits, and proceeds are going to charity!

This week I selected essays that address faith.

Dawn Landau’s  Ode to Girl Interrupted pulled me right in.

Kids are wired to grow up and shake the tree, right?  

So when our daughter threw us a curve ball, it was bound to be something truly noteworthy.  It was; and it all comes back to Israel. Yep, that tiny country that everyone seems to fight about is where my girl got interrupted. It’s where our solid relationship took a hard right. First, she went on a two-week trip with Birthright, the winter of her freshman year at college. There, she fell in love with an Israeli man. She returned the following summer and fell in love with the country… And then she fell deeply in love with her faith. Our daughter told us that she was going  to study in Israel her junior year, and she came home deeply immersed in a faith that we barely recognize as our own.  

…we’ve raised all three kids in the Jewish faith, but our faith is the Reformed brand. The watered down, less strict, simpler brand of Judaism, which (I admit) does what’s easiest, while still remaining Jewish.  We raised our kids in a Jewish faith that called for years of Sunday school, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and attendance on the High Holy Holidays.  Our faith leaves room for bacon, Dungeness Crab, driving on Fridays and Saturdays, using light switches, and calling ourselves Jews even though we do all of those things.

Intellectually, we get most of the edicts that she now follows, even if we don’t like them…. We accept that she will no longer eat the meals I prepare, as none of my dishes, pots or pans, let alone oven and stove, are kosher. ..

 …While I never converted, I changed my whole life to raise my kids as Jews…

The girl who I had always been so close with, was suddenly a young woman I could barely speak to. We argued most of the summer. I felt an urgent need to turn her around, get her back, convince her that she was going the wrong way. She was set on showing me that this was her life. That seems an obvious thing, until you’re facing it. All summer, still fighting this change, I threw up questions and challenges at every turn. I felt rejected and hurt. I felt like I’d done everything I could to be a Jewish mother, and now I wasn’t that at all. ..

Dawn’s other essay in the book is about her mother’s death from Huntington’s Disease. The proceeds from Tangerine Tango sales are going to fight this neurological, degenerative disease.

Wedding planning can be stressful no matter the circumstances. Balancing faiths can add extra challenges as Leah R. Singer shares in her  Saying “I Do” to an Interfaith Wedding.

…While the wedding was certainly beautiful and, more importantly, our marriage is still strong, getting to the chuppah was not an easy task. Especially because Bryan and I were an interfaith couple looking to plan a wedding that was welcoming to our families and held to our own religious beliefs.

…Why does religion suddenly become important during lifecycle events as it did for my parents?  When I told my parents we had found the most beautiful outdoor venue that was only available Saturday afternoons, they were shocked. “You can’t get married on Saturday!” my dad said. “Jews don’t marry on the Sabbath.”

Because we were never raised religiously, I honestly had never heard this rule.

Our quest to find a clergy who would marry us was the first interfaith wedding challenge…

Last, I’m sharing a bit from my Balancing Beliefs: From Yiddishkeit to Orthodoxy, which chronicles some of the challenges facing my family.

our second son, went to Israel for a year before starting college, participating in Hadassah’s Year Course. Tapped on the shoulder, asked what he was doing for Shabbat, he became intrigued, then hooked.  Within two years, both sons became “Baal teshuva,” or “one who returned,” embracing Orthodox Judaism. Within a short time, ritual observance became routine:  Eating kosher foods, installing mezuzahs on every doorpost, praying three times a day, wearing kippots and tallit, putting on teffilin,  studying tomes upon tomes of Torah text, saying  bruchas or blessings  for everything they eat and drink…

…It’s been an interesting journey. Learning and accommodating, doing what I can so they’ll eat in my house, respecting beliefs of all the children, a tolerance balancing act…

 I’m a staunch believer in our nation’s Bill of Rights. Freedom of religion is paramount.  I look at my grandchildren; like my own children, I hope they’ll have freedom to choose.

It’s the season of giving and blogger friend Roger Colby nominated me for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award, created by The Thought Palette. This one doesn’t have too many rules and no need to answer a bunch of trivia questions.  Here’s my chance to thank the bloggers (and the three non-bloggers) who contributed to Tangerine Tango.  The entire project from idea to book was great fun to produce.  I consider these writers among my closest friends– and most of them I haven’t met. So in addition to the two writers excerpted from today, I want to also recognize: Donna of Huffygirl, Stacey of Stacey’s Snacks,  Gabi, Chris of Mountain Mornings, Barbara of Friend for the Ride, and Patti of Remarkable Wrinklies.  Previous posts have included excerpts from their essays and poems in the book.  They all deserve the 2012 Blog of the Year Award!

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, two grandsons, and one grandchild due in August, 2011. I’m an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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5 Responses to Tangerine Tango Taste #5: Finding Faith

  1. Thanks! Tangerine Tango is a great collection. I just received an email this morning from a friend, saying how much she enjoyed it. Hats off to a wonderful editor!

  2. karen r-w says:

    Great to hear it is possible! Nothing would make me happier than if my son chooses to be more religious than me!!! I would only hope that he would take the time to try to pull me up with him.

  3. Judy says:

    It is indeed a wonderful little book! My mother is thrilled to be giving a copy to all her buddies for the holidays. Thank you, Lisa, for having the vision and making this happen!

  4. Pingback: Stash Pile Knitting | cyclingrandma

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