On the day of my wedding, my grandfather was on his deathbed. In earlier years, he had been a delight of my childhood, a source of insight and stability, a constant presence. In planning our wedding, we'd asked my grandfather to play some favorite old songs on his violin during the ceremony. But illness came suddenly upon this 90-year-old, and it became impossible for him to attend. That day, despite the intense celebration, my joy was diminished. But when he died seven days later, I knew he'd seen at least a glimpse of the life I was entering and the family I might later create.
"Ima, how old am I today?"
My oldest son's sixth birthday is coming soon. Recently, he has developed a near obsession with calculating exactly how old he is on a daily basis, practically down to the hour. Of course he is hardly unique. From our earliest years, we humans feel the compulsion to mark the passing of time, to define who we are by counting our years and months and days.
What kind of Jew are you? Reform? Conservative? Orthodox? Secular? Cultural? Reconstructionist? With whom do you identify? With whom do you disagree? What kind of Jew is so different that you would have nothing to share?