Posted by Ilana Angel
I would like for my son to marry a nice Jewish girl. It is important to me, and while I know some people think it is ridiculous, I will feel like a bit of a failure as a mother if he marries a woman who is of another faith. Love is elusive and his happiness is the most important thing, but with that said, we are Jewish and I want that for my grandchildren.
I am not going to apologize for thinking this way. I hear all the time that it is unrealistic for me to have this hope and selfish for me to put such pressure on my son. Whatever. If I am a Jew, and have presented faith to him in a way he embraces, then what is wrong with my wanting him to provide the same upbringing to his own children?
I have been divorced for 16 years and know how hard it is to find someone to share your life with. I live my life with a romantic heart but I have walked away from relationships that were not complete because in the end I want it all. I am not going to settle for less than I deserve just so I am not alone, and my partner must be Jewish.
If I had to choose between my son being happily married to someone not Jewish, or unhappily married to a Jew, of course I would want him to marry the woman who made him happy. This is not about telling my son who to love. I am simply hoping he opens his heart to accepting and receiving love, and God willing she will be a Jew.
My son has asked me what I would think if he married a woman who converted. I have thought about that a lot and always wondered how I would really feel about it. I don’t think I am judgmental as much as I am skeptical about how someone gives up their faith to take on that of another. Does the desire for love trump a connection to faith?
The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world, with Canada ranked number eight. If statistically you have a 50% chance at getting divorced, is it worth it to change religions to go into a marriage? Being Jewish is about more than a religious view. Judaism is traditional, cultural, spiritual, and routed in family not just religion.
I’m in Canada this week on holiday visiting my family and friends. We have spoken a lot about faith and how we raise our children. Last night we were hanging out after dinner and spoke of religion. We are all Jews but observe at different levels, and the person who had the most interesting take on what it means to be Jewish was a woman who converted.
Esther is 35 and has been dating her boyfriend Howard for 5 years. She is pretty with blonde hair, an easy laugh, and a body that lets you know she is a Pilates instructor. You can pop a quarter off her ass, which I know because I tried it. She turned around to see what hit her and I said nothing, but yes, you can in fact pop a quarter off her of her ass.
Esther was brought up Christian but it was more about tradition than religion. She celebrated Christmas and Easter but they were always more of a celebration of family over any religious beliefs. She was not baptized or confirmed, did not spend any large amount of time going to church, but she did go to a Catholic high school. She was aware but secular.
Her boyfriend told her that it was important to him that the mother of his children be Jewish and so she said she would convert. They are not married and have no plans to get married, but they would like to have a baby and so she converted in order to have a family with the man that she loves. I spoke with her today for hours and it was really fascinating.
She is a really lovely girl. I’m not sure how to say this without it sounding horrible, but she seemed very Jewish to me. I am offended when people say someone is very Jewish, yet Esther is very Jewish. She has a worldview that is Jewish based, and a way about her that gives off a mensch vibe. I would not have assumed she was Jewish but I get that she is.
She came into a large Jewish family and held her own. She was scared and intimidated but the love she had for her boyfriend, and the hope of being a parent with him, allowed her to set aside being uncomfortable. I am in awe of her because she is able to put love ahead of everything and I envy that quality. I believe it is the key to her happiness.
I am in a new relationship and I spend a lot of time worrying about how to define it. Does he love me? Will he marry me? Is he a good person to have around my child? If I spend time thinking of how things could go wrong, then how much time am I spending enjoying the love I have found? Am I wasting my energy on the wrong things?
Esther’s relationship seemed complicated when I met her. It appears to me that she sacrificed a lot to be with Howard and he appeared to be reaping all the benefits. She walked away from Christmas and Easter, no longer celebrates with her family, and he does not ever have to marry her because he said from the beginning that he would not.
Esther and I had an honest and open discussion about what I perceived to be her sacrifices and in the end she does not view her choices as sacrifices as much as choosing to be happy. She has love and believes that with love will come everything else. She is Jewish not because he asked her, but because she chose to. The conversion was about love not faith.
In the end she has embraced Judaism and to hear her speak of her faith is touching. She speaks of being Jewish with a calmness grounded in love. She is Jewish not because it was handed
down to her, but rather because she chose to hand it down to her own children. I started our conversation with some judgment but in the end I was judging myself.
Esther is a wonderful woman with an open and giving heart. She embraces love and allows it to guide her faith. I want that for myself. I asked Esther to describe herself in three words and she chose patient, nice, and funny. I would use giving, aware, and Jewish. Howard is lucky to have met such a nice Jewish girl, and so am I. She has opened my eyes.
I want my son to marry a woman who makes him happy and is a wonderful mother. I hope that she will be Jewish girl but should he fall in love with a girl who is not Jewish, but wants to convert, then that will be a blessing. For a woman to love him so much she changes her faith in order to share a life with him is something I respect and admire.
I have found a great love in my Englishman and it is about time I stopped to enjoy that love. I am not going to worry about anything other than the love we have. If I have love then I have everything. I am impressed with Esther and feel proud to know her. This newly Jewish woman has taught me about love and reminded me to keep the faith.
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11.29.13 at 1:56 pm | My nest will never empty as my son will always be. . .
11.28.13 at 7:59 am | Think. Laugh. Cry.
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11.30.13 at 10:42 am | "The only correct actions are those that demand. . . (521)
11.28.13 at 7:59 am | Think. Laugh. Cry. (383)
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August 9, 2012 | 12:23 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am heading home to Canada today. It is the first time I am going home to see my family in 2 years. My mother has been here to see me, but I’ve not been to see my siblings, nieces or nephews. I love them all very much and this is too long to not see them. Not only am I going to see everyone, but after 21 days the wait is finally over and I will see my delicious son.
I used to go home every year. Some years I would go twice, but as much as I love my family, it has been different since my father died. I’d much rather they come to see me than go back and be reminded in a real way that he is gone. I have lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years but I feel like going to Canada is going home. That is changing a little with this visit.
Los Angeles is where my son considers his home to be. He was born here, raised here, and has built a life here. He has had dual citizenship since he was a baby, but he is an American and this is home. He is my heart and so my home is where he is. This visit feels like I am leaving home rather than going home. It is a melancholy feeling, but also comforting.
I was born in Israel, grew up in Canada, and am raising my son in America. Israel, Canada, and America are all home in their own way, but in the end the life I have built in Los Angeles is finally, after 20 years, home. Although my mother would disagree, I am never going to move back to Canada and so as much as I am going home, I am also leaving home.
I moved a lot when I was a kid and do not feel like I have a hometown. When people ask me where I’m from I usually say Canada because having lived in 4 Canadian cities, I never know which one to say. I have lived in Los Angeles longer than any other place so I guess i am from Los Angeles. I am a Canadian, English, Israeli, whose home is in America.
After 46 years it feels nice to put down roots. I have built a life for myself in Los Angeles and have raised a remarkable son in this city. LA is his home town and his home. I am thrilled to be in Canada. It feels safe, comfortable and familiar. I may consider LA to be my home but I am Canadian and that will never change. Home is memories as much as location.
I will be blogging from the Great White North this week and look forward to sharing my vacation with all of you. I am taking a week off from reality television and that will prove to be my real vacation. In the end I am blessed to have so many places that I consider home and so many people who fill my home with love. My home has been built by my keeping the faith.
August 2, 2012 | 6:43 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I love a good Rabbi. Truth be told, when I started my spiritual journey to find my own level of Judaism, I loved all Rabbis. I was in awe of men who could quote Torah, and guide me through my faith. I have always thought Rabbis were special, often thought they were sexy, and fancied myself as a Rebbetzin. Being a Rabbi’s wife seemed like perfection to me.
I dated a Rabbi once and thought he was magical. He was a lovely man and though our relationship did not last long, it was very nice. Years after we stopped dating he did my Get for me. He is married with children now and works at a temple here in Los Angeles. We don’t really cross paths but we know people in common and it’s nice to know he is happy and doing well.
I am a bit of a temple hopper and have been looking for a Rabbi who speaks to me. The Rabbi who did my son’s Bar Mitzvah is great. He is funny, smart and a calming force. He was supportive and kind to the needs of a single mother and my son loves him. I never really thought of him as my Rabbi though. He was and continues to be my son’s spiritual leader.
A Rabbi is just a man like anyone else so I’m not sure why I value them in a different way. They are just people whose job it is to lead people in faith, but it does not make them any closer to God or goodness. If you are an idiot and you become a Rabbi, you are simply an idiot who also happens to be a Rabbi. That said, it is sad to me when a Rabbi is an idiot.
There is a certain level of God like power in being a Rabbi. A Rabbi can save a life and in my case I feel one did. When I was lost in terms of my faith I was guided back to God by a Rabbi. I’m not sure he knows the impact he had on me, but it was significant. I did not realize I was lost until I heard him speak and it was through his words that I found my way.
The combination of the bible and his worldview gave me a perspective I was missing. I am a Jew but this Rabbi taught me what it meant to be Jewish, and I will be forever grateful. It turns out being a Rabbi does not make you a great man, but being a great man makes you a great Rabbi. It’s a tough lesson to learn and disappointing when a Rabbi is a putz.
I have a friend who is getting divorced from her Rabbi husband and he is not handling the situation like a mensch, as much as a douchelord. I have another friend who was in a relationship with a Rabbi and his treatment of her is painful. Many revere him, yet in terms of my friend he has been a hurtful human being. How can a man of faith be so unkind?
Does being a good Rabbi to many get you off the hook for being an asshole to one? How can one man lead a congregation to enlightenment while crapping all over someone? Watching a Rabbi treat someone so thoughtlessly is shocking and I struggle with how to separate him from his job and title. Must I respect him just because he is a Rabbi?
Being a good man is harder than being a good Rabbi, and while people love and adore this man, to me he is just a pig who will have a lot of explaining to do when he comes face to face with God. It is unbelievable that a man who has spent his life being a leader of faith is able to give no value to the heart and soul of someone he once professed to love.
I have lost respect for a man I thought was a great leader. A Rabbi is just a man and sometimes a man can be a douchelord. I am in awe of men of faith. Today one showed his true self and that revelation would be shocking to those who lean on him. I will continue my search for a wonderful Rabbi with one crossed off the list. I am searching and keeping the faith.
August 2, 2012 | 12:07 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am a woman of faith and I have a close relationship with God. I speak with God on a daily basis and some days I feel like I speak with him more than anyone else in my life. I don’t ask him for anything, but I do pray for guidance and clarity. I thank him for being a source of peace in my life and on occasion I question him as to why things happen. I don’t blame him when things are not good or something bad happens, but I do seek answers to questions.
Yesterday I was talking to my son who is on the east coast on holiday. He was riding his bike to go to a movie and I told him he should call me back as it was dangerous to talk on the phone while riding. He insisted it was fine and then a minute later I heard a thud. He told me he needed to call me back because he had just been hit by a car. He hung up and it was a horrible moment. I called him back until he answered the phone.
Turns out he did not see a car coming, and the car did not see him, so they collided. He got a few cuts on his arm and hurt his shoulder a little bit, but he was fine. The driver was lovely and in the end the bike got hurt the most. I called him 20 times during the day and was quite anxious. It is horrible when your child is hurt, and devastating when you are not there. I prayed to God to watch over him, keep him safe, and also thanked him that my son was okay.
This morning I heard from a friend of mine that a friend of his from college died overnight in a car accident. He was a Marine who was home on leave and apparently fell asleep at the wheel and died in a head on collision when he veered into oncoming traffic. It has hit me hard and I am devastated for this wonderful young man and his family. It is tragic that while home from fighting for our lives, he lost his own. Life is so fragile.
I am feeling blessed and sad this morning. Incredibly grateful that my son is okay, and yet heartbroken that this young man has lost his life. We must all strive to live with purpose and peace. It has been a week of clarity for me in terms of how I am approaching my time on earth. I want to squeeze joy out of every minute I am here because we just don’t know what will come our way. Each day is worth living in a way that really matters.
To my son, I love you and being your mother is more joy than any one person deserves. Be careful, be safe, be happy, and for the love of God, don’t talk on the phone while riding your bike! To the family of Todd, who passed away last night, he was a hero and served our country proudly. I am keeping him in my thoughts and prayers and trust he will rest in peace. God bless us all. I am taking a deep breath today and keeping the faith.