First post from a longtime lurker for the Jewish mommies out there - Mothering Forums
Spirituality > First post from a longtime lurker for the Jewish mommies out there
LoveBeads's Avatar LoveBeads 12:56 AM 07-08-2002
hi there,

I guess I should "officially" introduce myself in the other forum but I had a question for any of the Jewish mommies in the group. I am a Reconstructionist Jew (anyone who wants to know more about it then I'd be happy to answer) and it is very accepted for the women of the congregation to wear yarmulkes and tallis (sp?). I am not exactly comfortable wearing either of these, I do NOT have any problem with the fact that it happens. That is why I became a Reconstructionist. My question is this: how do I handle this issue with my daughter? She is only two now but I don't want her to feel awkward wearing these things, nor do I want to wear them necessarily just to prove to her that she can do it. Does this make sense?

I guess I don't want to appear to be "old fashioned" to her but I need to be true to my own comfort level as well. Any advice?

LoveBeads - mom to the incredible Miss Maddy, the light of my life and life partner to David

forestma's Avatar forestma 01:16 PM 07-08-2002
Hi there lovebeads,

I haven't been around too much lately, but your post caught my eye!

Nursing mothers advice sounds good to me! you can always tell your little daughter that you choose not to wear the tallis/yarmulka....that you have a choice...some women like to wear it to help them feel closer to G-d and if she wants she can wear them too. Of course, she is rather young to understand right now, but I think telling her it is a choice instead of that it make you feel uncomfortable is a good way to explain it, IMO!

merpk's Avatar merpk 01:16 PM 07-08-2002
Hi, LB, welcome to the fray (or is it frey?) ...

But seriously, I'm not Reconstructionist (I've been everything-Jewish-but), but believe that if you expose her to what your beliefs and appreciations of ritual are, and explain what they are, she'll grow with her own appreciations and understandings.

The explanation and education is the biggest problem with "mainstream" Judaism today, IMHO. People don't know why they do what they do, or what to do and why to do it, and the mystical reasons and beauty get lost in the uninformed translation.

The most important part is that she knows the whats & whys. Then she can make an informed decision for herself.

An example. My parents are solidly Conservative Jews. In CJ synagogues women receive aliyot to the Torah and wear taleisim (prayer shawls), etc. My mother, however, refused the aliyas when they were originally offered (they know better than to offer them now) and won't carry the Torah. Not her thing.

Why? It's the way she grew up, the way she's comfortable.

And it's all about being comfortable with G-d, right? That's why we're into religion, isn't it, in the long run, to find our own ways of being comfortable with G-d.

- Amy
me&3's Avatar me&3 06:34 PM 07-08-2002
My family is conservative,and I grew up mainly conservative, too. Until very recently,I was not comfortable with kippot and tallitot being worn by women. As our family has gotten more traditional, however,I have felt the need to have my head covered when I pray. When I daven at home, I wear a tallit,too. This didn't happen overnight, though. It took months before I did it! And I still don't feel comfortable wearing a tallit at shul (although many women in our community do). Maybe I will at some point, I don't know. My point being... you don't know where you will be on the issue in a few years, anyway. So I don't think you need worry about how your daughter will be affected...

Interesting topic.. would love to write more, but my son just got home from camp! Maybe I"ll return...
flminivanmama's Avatar flminivanmama 07:18 PM 07-08-2002
Hi lovebeads - I'm not on here much but I'm glad I swung by and saw your post I grew up in a synagogue (and went to camp and on Israel programs) where lots of women did wear kippot and tallitot and lots did not... As I grew I understood that this wasn't a requirement for women but it was something that some chose to take on for themselves. I am sure that your daughter will learn the same way as I did if you take her with you to services she will be surrounded by women who chose to do this as well as women who chose not to... and as she grows she will also chose for herself