April 14, 2015 11 Comments
Welcome to the April 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family History This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, lore, and wisdom about family history. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. ***
My children’s ethnic ancestry is five-eighths Yiddish: All of their father’s grandparents, and my maternal grandfather, were descendants of Eastern European Jews. We aren’t Jewish–my ten-year-old son Nicholas and I are Episcopalians, we’re bringing baby Lydia to church with us, and my partner Daniel does not practice any organized religion–but Jewish/Yiddish customs are an important part of our family background.
Daniel’s grandfather, Herschel, is 99 years old and still hosts a Passover seder in his home. I’d never been to a seder before I started living with Daniel. Now it’s our annual connection to our Yiddish roots, and I missed it very much the few years we weren’t able to attend. Daniel’s mother always comes to spend Passover with her father, and she makes the dinner. Family friends, the Feldmans, come over for the seder and bring dessert. We don’t make it as formal and reverent as we could, but we all respect the basic structure of the ritual and try to follow the traditions.
Nicholas was three months old at his first seder. He sat calmly in my lap and even slept through part of it. Of course he doesn’t remember it. He was too young to sample any of the food. But it was very special to all of us that he could participate in this family tradition with his great-grandfather. (An extra bonus was that my brother happened to be in town that spring, so he got a chance to attend the seder, too, and to meet Daniel’s extended family.) Herschel exclaimed many times how glad and amazed he was to be a great-grandfather. Although he knew we wouldn’t be raising Nicholas as a Jew, still we were welcome at the seder table. Read more of this post