I am paying attention although sometimes that just means I am aware of my inattention. Words float around in the high space above. Sunlight through stained glass illuminates the pews across from us. The scent of perfumed parishioners and powdered babies mingles with incense past and, oddly, Old Spice. All is familiar, routine. The words drop from above, and I focus on them, or I try to. “… let us give thanks to the Lord.” Two boys of the same age stand in the row with me, my wife beyond them. I look down at the closest one as he says, “It is right and just.” He doesn’t just mumble … [Read more...]
Science and religion are on a collision course in my household. Religion. Science. Are they independent or intertwined? How exactly do you explain the confluence of the two subjects to a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, especially when they’re the ones who bring it up? Naturally, I explained the evolution/creation issue as well as I could, thoroughly confusing my kids in the process. The screenplay goes thusly: Scene: A father and his three kids are driving to a park in a late model SUV SIX YEAR OLD: Hey Dad, I have a question. Who were the first people? DAD: Well, … [Read more...]
With Passover beginning tomorrow night, I've been reflecting of late on my hard relationship with Judaism. On one hand, my identity is very much as a Jew, at least culturally. I had a bar mitzvah. I've been to Israel. I can read Hebrew (although my understanding is limited). I went to a Hebrew high school, and even taught there for two years. I know the blessings by heart, or mostly. I have Passover Seders in my house, we occasionally have Shabbat, and I can "Oy vey" and "Nu, so ..." with the best of them. I married a Jewish woman, and we stepped on the glass. And guilt? Do I know about … [Read more...]
I love Christmas lights. Always have. Kind of ironic, right? After all, I’m Jewish and therefore, I don’t celebrate Christmas. Yet, it’s hard to avoid Christmas and all that goes with it. Between the advertisements, television shows, music, etc., Christmas is everywhere. However, for me, Christmas is just another day. And that is why at this time of the year, I feel very much like a minority, an other and an outsider. These days that fact does not bother me, but that was not always true. When I was a kid, I was jealous of those who celebrated Christmas. There were presents, … [Read more...]
Editor's Note: Last week's guest column about teaching faith to children sparked a great response, in agreement and opposition. NYC Dads Group member Josh Kross offers his take on his parenting without God. I teach my children to be grateful for the world without needing to find responsibility for it. We have a tremendous gift in the universe, and it doesn’t matter why. The universe is not for us or by us. The universe just is, and that is all the explanation we need.
+ + +When he was 7, my oldest child walked out of his room and said, “You know those … [Read more...]