February 10, 2012

My son, the proselytizer

My husband and I are secular Jews, which means we light the Shabbat candles but twitch a little every time the rabbi mentions God in his sermon.  I’m the third generation in my family to not believe in God, not that my father’s family is something to emulate.

We don’t belong to a synagogue here in New Jersey, although we have joined one in Massachusetts.  That means no one has been to religious school this year.  To make up for this paucity of religious education, we celebrate every holiday by watching Fountainheads and Maccabeats clips on YouTube.  We also rented Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which features Donny Osmond without a shirt for about 45 minutes.  The kids loved it, although Zach had something to say about the historical inaccuracies.

Benjamin has since become obsessed with the soundtrack.  He falls asleep listening to “Potiphar” or “You Are What You Feel.”  He’s bound and determined to learn all the colors in the coat, so he asked me to print up the lyrics to the songs. I spent an hour cutting and pasting from some internet site, which led me to wonder why exactly there isn’t a picture book series of musical lyrics in 16 point font.  Benjamin has also decided that, since Joseph is a Biblical story, the Bible must be fascinating.  He wants me to read it to him.

Did I mention that we’re secular Jews?

Last night, as I lay out the children’s lunch things, I took a Sharpie to write notes on Lilah’s and Benjamin’s bananas.  We only get bananas in the winter, when local fruit is hard to come by, and I often write little love notes on the peel.  Last night, I wrote, “I love you!” on Lilah’s.  On Benjamin’s: “Some folks dream of the wonders they’ll do.”

My husband laughed for five minutes when he saw it.

This morning, I sent Benjamin off to finish making his Valentines (for the love of Mike, just make them already!) while I packed their lunches. There was actually some yelling involved, because he’s been working on them for three weeks and I need to pack up the art supplies and couldn’t we just have bought cards this one year since the movers are coming on Valentine’s Day to pack us up?

After a few minutes, he called out, “How do you spell ‘world’?”  I told him, filled a water bottle, brushed Lilah’s hair, reminded Zachary he needed to wear socks.

“Are you done with that?” I asked.

“Almost.”  I walked over to check.  There, right across the top, he had written: “The Bible is the best book in the world!”  So that the receiving kindergartener wouldn’t miss the message, he wrote it again on the inside.

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  • Reply Brigid February 10, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Ha. Heh.

    I’m guessing you know you can lightly “write” on the banana skin with a toothpick and it will magically appear in the skin of the banana?

  • Reply Brigid February 10, 2012 at 1:03 am

    As if you have easy access to toothpicks right now in the midst of packing…

  • Reply Coco February 10, 2012 at 3:01 am

    I think he has a wonderful mind.

  • Reply Magpie February 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Well, um…. Okay!

  • Reply Lilian Nattel February 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    LOL. When I was 4 I got a book of bible stories as a gift. I didn’t have much in the way of toys or books (and what I had was often disposed of by parents), so I treasured it and read it until the cover came off. As an adult, I’m not very comfortable with a lot of the stories–they espouse values I can’t go along with. But apparently it didn’t do me any harm. And kids who don’t know the bible (and many don’t nowadays) miss an important reference for language and literature.

  • Reply alejna February 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Too funny! I confess, though, that I might freak out a little if my daughter received a valentine like that…

    • Reply emily February 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Let’s just say I’ve discussed it with the parents and made sure they were OK with it…

  • Reply Amy February 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Two words: Brick Testament: http://www.thebricktestament.com/ .

    The Exodus one is great. (We have the whole Brick Bible….)

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