Author Archives: ginahagler

Function of Religion: Adulthood

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a function as “the normal or characteristic action of anything.” They list several definitions for religion. For our purposes we’ll use the second definition. It states, “religion is any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.” You’ll note that this definition does not include a belief in a creator, ruler, or Divine Being. This is because for some of us, that is not a function of religion.

So what is the function of Judaism in your life? What are the normal characteristics? What purpose do we expect this religion to have in our lives? Is the function to give us a system of belief? Is it to give us a way to worship? Is it to give us a code of ethics and a philosophy, or a method of giving recognition to a creator, ruler, or Divine Being? For those of you who are not sure, let’s step back in time. Wait! There’s more!

The Annual Women’s Seder and My Catholic Grandmother

So. I decided I would go to the annual women’s seder at our temple this year. I tend to shy away from these events because it is usually uncomfortable when “my slip shows,”  but I decided to expect the best. Plus, I was meeting up with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I was kind of looking forward to it.

By the afternoon, I started to feel a bit anxious. Memories of past forays into the halls of  Sisterhood rushed back. I took a walk and drank a lot of water. Then I got this email: “Ladies-The theme of the Women’s Seder this year is Memories. We would like you to bring an artifact (piece of jewelry, photograph, wine cup, etc.) that is in memory of a significant (Jewish) woman in your life. If you do not have an artifact, then just bring the story…”  Continue reading

Shabbat 03/16/13

Shabbat Candles

Passover begins in a little more than a week.It’s time to think start your preparations in earnest.

Tonight we’ll plan what we’re having for our Seder. We’ll get out the dishes we use for Passover and made sure our dining room is ready.

We’ll decide who is helping with what prep for the holiday, as well as who we will invite to join us.

At dinner this evening, we’ll also decide which siddur to use. Now that everyone is older, we can use one without crayons!

Shabbat Shalom!

Related Posts:
Keeping Shabbat

Function of Religion: Teen Years

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a function as “the normal or characteristic action of anything.” They list several definitions for religion. For our purposes we’ll use the second definition. It states, “religion is any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.” You’ll note that this definition does not include a belief in a creator, ruler, or Divine Being. This is because for some of us, that is not a function of religion.

So what is the function of Judaism in your life? What are the normal characteristics? What purpose do we expect this religion to have in our lives? Is the function to give us a system of belief? Is it to give us a way to worship? Is it to give us a code of ethics and a philosophy, or a method of giving recognition to a creator, ruler, or Divine Being? For those of you who are not sure, let’s step back in time. Wait! There’s more!

International Adoption

Here’s clip from an interview on NBC4 News from November 2006. It’s in conjunction with a piece that ran on international adoption and adoption celebrations in Washington Parent.

There’s more!

Adoption: Culturally Trivialized!

I’ve been mulling over the Bognar post on Lilith for a week now. I absolutely share her surprise at the depiction of adoption as anything but a fundamentally positive act. I, too, am surprised when I hear adoption viewed as other than a win-win — at least I am in 90% of the cases. The other 10% – those that involve children from countries without a concept of adoption – leave me with a lot of mixed feelings still to sort.

Ambivalent as I may be about that 10% of adoptions, I am 100% certain that I’m unhappy with the way adoption is trivialized in our culture. More and more, news items about adoption treat the adoptive family as more a foster family or babysitting entity. The”real” mother will look for her “lost” child in time and, when she does, those “nice” adoptive parents will back off.  more…

Adoption: Culturally Persecuted?

I recently read an interesting post on the Lilith site. For those of you who are not familiar with Lilith, it’s a magazine with a demographic of Jewish feminists. I’m not sure I exactly fit, but I am Jewish and I am an adoptive mom, so I figure I’m close enough.

The piece, Are Adoptive Families Culturally Persecuted?, by Tara Bognar, covers Bognar’s experience at a daylong symposium about adoption. Specifically, Bognar reflects on the keynote speech given by Dr. Debora Spar, President of Barnard College. read more…

Shabbat 03/09/13

Shabbat CandlesSpring break is coming up for my college son! It will be good to have him home. He’s not quite into the “Jewish thing” as he calls it. It seems he’s decided to observe the phases of the moon. No. I kid you not. While he’s here, he’ll augment his moon gazing with some Jewish tradition.

Passover is coming up. There’s plenty to do to prepare. It would be nice if everyone were here for the entire holiday, but college-boy will return for at least one Seder.

For Shabbat this evening we’ll discuss what it means to create family traditions. How do we decide which to keep? How do we decide what to do? Why is it important?

Shabbat Shalom!

Related Posts:
Keeping Shabbat

Your Slip is Showing: B’nai Mitzvah Prep

These are the things that no one has probably thought to tell you about preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the Reform movement. You’ll be glad to know them. Believe me.

  1. Your child is going to freak out. It’s possible he/she will swear it’s too hard, too complicated, not worth it… Your child will not be the last child to do this. He/She is certainly not the first. I know this as a fact. Stay calm, listen, and cuddle as needed.
  2. Read more