A Family’s Unintended Journey of Faith: At 4, Our Son Loves Going to Temple

My son treats our temple like a second home. He hugs the rabbis and the cantor. He exchanges high fives with other parents and children. He seems as comfortable in the children’s service as he is in the adult services. Seeing my son embrace his faith so early in life is beautiful and at times, astonishing. Both my husband and I grew up largely disconnected from our faith. We didn’t set out to make Judaism such an integral part of our son’s early childhood. It just happened.
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Judaism, by baby steps

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My 4-month-old baby boy nestled in my arms, I walked into the sanctuary hoping to discreetly slip back into a seat by my husband.

“Simon,” Rabbi Howard Jaffe called out in his booming voice. “Come join us.”

It was time for the Aleinu prayer, and our temple’s tradition was to invite children to participate and open the doors of the ark.

Take my baby up to the bimah? What was the point?

Learning to Pray is Lifelong Challenge

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Some people seem so comfortable at praying. They shut their eyes and recite words praising God and fold into their own private space. I am still learning how to pray.

I celebrated my adult bat mitzvah four years ago and led others in the traditional prayers of a Shabbat morning service. I did not stumble over the Hebrew, and yet my adrenalin rush stemmed not so much from the words of the prayer. It came from the people around me. It came from the sense of community.