When do we become adults? When we experience our first tragedy? When we adopt adult responsibilities, and accept the weight of cultural expectations? When we undertake a coming of age ritual, like a bar mitzvah? For our Chinese-Jewish Mash-Up Koca Wen it was a mash-up of all of the above.
How does a Jewish mother respond to the unthinkable? In Jeremiah, we read of the matriarch Rachel, the quintessential Jewish mother, who sat in Ramah crying and bitterly weeping. There was no comfort for her, her children were gone. Like our ancient matriarch, we, too, are in mourning.
Dressed in white, we walked along the road accompanying the Torah, the quiet solemn march was visually powerful. But even with this wonderful set up, part of me worried. I attend a great many Shabbat services in a variety of settings, formal and informal, Orthodox, Reform, unaffiliated. Far too often the young people have trouble engaging. They don’t sing along. They fidget. They talk. They don’t seem to pray.