Most people assume tradition and religion is passed down from parent to child. But the Washington Jewish Week recently discovered that’s not always the case. In what they call “Bubble-up Judaism,” sometimes it’s the birth of a child that rekindles a dormant Jewish spirit.
They spoke with many families who, for one reason or another, decided to send their children to a Jewish pre-school, only to find that as their child grew in a Jewish environment, so did they. One father said he was inspired to take Hebrew classes and increase his Jewish education in order to “keep up with his son,” who was 4 years old. Some parents now teach Sunday school, others have begun keeping kosher homes. The paper explains:
Families who have established a connection with Judaism through their children come from many backgrounds. Some are interfaith couples. Others were once involved Jewishly, but became disconnected from their roots. In each instance, though, the birth of a child awakened a desire to reconnect, explore Judaism for the first time, or at least provide their son or daughter with a solid Judaic grounding.
What this means is every Jewish family, no matter their background or makeup, should be welcomed into the community and allowed to explore their heritage. This is relevant for anyone – intermarried families, adult children of intermarriage, multiracial Jews – who might have felt marginalized by the Jewish community along the way. Clearly there is a great opportunity for engagement, and we should give them the access they need – especially if they want to raise Jewish children. It seems this can have an even stronger impact on a family than we ever realized.