The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Being true to my roots

Jewish Atheist had an interseting post a while ago about passing on his Jewish Culture to his (hypothetical) children, while bringing them up as secular atheists. It caused a heated debate in the comments section about how he was failing his community and all that, so I asked what is the "Jewish Culture" we are trying to preserve, and why?

Apparently 2006 is the 350th anniversary of Jews re-admission to England. My father has always claimed that his family fled to scotland after the York pogroms of 1190, and although his father came to live in London in the 30's, the rest of the family are still there. Am i Scottish? I don't consider myself so. The Scots certainly didn't think so either of the times I lived there.

My parents both claimed atheism (mother) and agnosticism (father - although he is definitely getting much more Jewish as he gets older!) yet sent us all off to Sunday school to learn about our Jewishness. Mostly we learned the Old Testement, which certainly is not secular culture, and Hebrew, which wasn't much use even when I went to Israel!

I was brought up with stories of the geat Jewish community, (although I never saw it in action as I didn't attend synagogue regularly), and how Jews accross the world are all the same. I recently discovered that my great grand-parents family were some of the first (and most misguided) zionists. At 18 I went off to Israel, initially on a Kibbutz, full of pre-conceived ideas about pretty much everything.

I met Jews from around the world, and Sabra's aplenty. I had absolutely nothing in common with any of them! The American Jews were American's. The Ethiopian Jews were Ethiopian. The Russian Jews were Russians. The Iraelis were arrogant, bigoted, war-mongerers. In fact the two people I got on best with were a Dutchman & Brazilian who were converting - in other words, i empathsised with the gentiles, not the Jews!

I spent 16 months travelling around Israel & Europe. it was a fantastic experience, and a real journey of discovery. What I mostly discovered is that I am English through and through! With nearly 1000 years of family history in the UK, what else should I be culturally?

I have absolutely no intention of passing on any jewishness to my kids. Other than a few interesting recipies I do not see what i am supposed to pass on! They will be secular English Europeans. It sounds like a perfectly acceptable culture to me - all the good bits from hundreds of diferent cultures and various waves of immigration combining into a modern secular world-view. If more people accepted the culture they were living in & stopped trying to "preserve" one they left behind generations ago, the world would be a much happier place IMO!


  • At Friday, June 16, 2006 9:47:00 am, Blogger debambam said…

    I think this is a great post with some very interesting questions! We here in Australia accept that while there is the old 'true blue aussie' stereotype,it's an ideal that realistically isn't what this country is about. We are about diversity, about acceptance, about just what you said, being true to OUR roots, and we each define those roots ourself....

  • At Friday, June 16, 2006 1:27:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A said: If more people accepted the culture they were living in & stopped trying to "preserve" one they left behind generations ago, the world would be a much happier place IMO!

    Very true! Good post.... and VERY surprised it didn't generate more comments.


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