Personal reflections on the new plight of the Jewish people

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Most people know that the bar or bat mitzvah of a grandchild is a big deal for a Jewish person.  It tends to happen when the child is twelve or thirteen years old.

A dozen years ago, the first grandchild nearly came into our lives.  My son was in medical school and dating a Jewish woman.  She was attractive, and she followed him from the East Coast, where they were working, to the Midwest, where he began medical school.

She chose to have breast augmentation, figuring it would make her more attractive in his eyes.  As his medical school graduation approached, she chose to get pregnant.  By all accounts, she was devastated when he marched her to Planned Parenthood, insisted she have an abortion, and dumped her.  Later, he did residency in San Diego and married a Ph.D., a Poppa Has Dough.

At his age, I had attended college as a commuter, worked my way through graduate school.  He had withdrawn from the Ivy League campus where he studied, cashing in the tuition I had paid for a semester off skiing.  When the car I''d gotten him fell apart, I asked how fast he had driven it.  "Uphill or downhill?" was his retort.

At the Ph.D. wedding, my son called me aside to report that the bride was averse to having children.  None, he said.  Maybe one.

Years went by, and my sense of disappointment rose steadily.

I expressed that disappointment in no uncertain terms, to which the daughter in law, and her father, took offense.

The father-in-law called me, pointing out that it was possible they could have a special needs child.  In that event, the man said, he had quite a bit of money and I didn't, so I had no say in the matter.

In time, they did have a child, whom I've never seen.

I understand all about a woman's right to choose.  If the first woman's life had been endangered by a pregnancy, I could have lived with any decision they made.  But the only thing endangered, as my son told his mother, was one third of his income for the next 18 years.

My son's in-laws are retired now, and they live in the Northeast.  Fans of Bernie Sanders, they think people should pay their fair share.

I took to reading works of Ben Wattenberg, author of The Birth Dearth, and to following more closely the literature on insufficient fertility among Western women.  

Recently, I watched a video of Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in which he remarked that not one of Europe's 27 nations is producing enough children to maintain its population.

Jewish people have two main holidays: one in which they are asked to hold themselves accountable for their behaviors so as to be worthy of living through the next year, and a second (Passover) in which they recall the story of their culture and their ancestors.

I am fully responsible for raising the son who made these decisions.

And I am finding it increasingly difficult to  believe that there will continue to be a (non-Orthodox) Jewish people to pass this history on to.

The author wishes to remain anonymous.

Image: Yonatan Sindel via Flickr.

Most people know that the bar or bat mitzvah of a grandchild is a big deal for a Jewish person.  It tends to happen when the child is twelve or thirteen years old.

A dozen years ago, the first grandchild nearly came into our lives.  My son was in medical school and dating a Jewish woman.  She was attractive, and she followed him from the East Coast, where they were working, to the Midwest, where he began medical school.

She chose to have breast augmentation, figuring it would make her more attractive in his eyes.  As his medical school graduation approached, she chose to get pregnant.  By all accounts, she was devastated when he marched her to Planned Parenthood, insisted she have an abortion, and dumped her.  Later, he did residency in San Diego and married a Ph.D., a Poppa Has Dough.

At his age, I had attended college as a commuter, worked my way through graduate school.  He had withdrawn from the Ivy League campus where he studied, cashing in the tuition I had paid for a semester off skiing.  When the car I''d gotten him fell apart, I asked how fast he had driven it.  "Uphill or downhill?" was his retort.

At the Ph.D. wedding, my son called me aside to report that the bride was averse to having children.  None, he said.  Maybe one.

Years went by, and my sense of disappointment rose steadily.

I expressed that disappointment in no uncertain terms, to which the daughter in law, and her father, took offense.

The father-in-law called me, pointing out that it was possible they could have a special needs child.  In that event, the man said, he had quite a bit of money and I didn't, so I had no say in the matter.

In time, they did have a child, whom I've never seen.

I understand all about a woman's right to choose.  If the first woman's life had been endangered by a pregnancy, I could have lived with any decision they made.  But the only thing endangered, as my son told his mother, was one third of his income for the next 18 years.

My son's in-laws are retired now, and they live in the Northeast.  Fans of Bernie Sanders, they think people should pay their fair share.

I took to reading works of Ben Wattenberg, author of The Birth Dearth, and to following more closely the literature on insufficient fertility among Western women.  

Recently, I watched a video of Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in which he remarked that not one of Europe's 27 nations is producing enough children to maintain its population.

Jewish people have two main holidays: one in which they are asked to hold themselves accountable for their behaviors so as to be worthy of living through the next year, and a second (Passover) in which they recall the story of their culture and their ancestors.

I am fully responsible for raising the son who made these decisions.

And I am finding it increasingly difficult to  believe that there will continue to be a (non-Orthodox) Jewish people to pass this history on to.

The author wishes to remain anonymous.

Image: Yonatan Sindel via Flickr.