So, I grew up in a typical surburban Jewish home where my religious education ended on my 13th birthday. Whatever I learned, was quickly put away into those childhood memories that pop up every once in a while to remind you that once upon a time, far away in your past, there were events that somehow were supposed to mold you into the adult you are today. Sure I could parse my way through a prayer here or there, and most other reform congregations that held events for family members also played the same tunes, so I felt some connection.
After I got married, we lived in a nice part of NY that had multitudes of more serious of my faith. I'm not talking about Boro Park or Riverdale, but a good enough size to have a couple of Kosher butchers and 6 or 7 houses of worship. The crowd we hung out with were from the Camp Ramah/USY with a touch of Solomon Schechter. That kind of sent me into a deeper introspection of what Judaism really is and what's in it for me.
For those of you who do not have children, its hard to describe the change you go through. You start to look back on your youth, and make decisions on doing the opposite. Not that it was bad, but you always want more for them. My platform was looking back into Europe in the 1930's. It did not matter if you were not practicing or were a full out frum, if the name fit, you were getting the yellow star of flair. So why not? Why not show your kids that being a Jew was difficult and different? Why not stop with the bacon cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza? Why not spend 3 1/2 hrs every Saturday listening to the classically trained hazzan spout the same tunes over and over?
Trying to get on the Kosher train, Shabbat observance, Daily minyan treadmill is not a few steps here and a few there. It seems to be no-limit hold'em; show me your cards or fold. For many years wanting to play at the big table but not having the self confidence to step up and buy in, creates a pseudo-Judeo movement. That's where I am today. No pork or shrimp, Minyan on Sunday morning, if no kid's activities on Shabbat, then I'm in.
Thank you for letting me take a few seconds of your time today.