I am the parent to a 4 year-old boy and lately I have been thinking about what to do for Chanukah/Hanukkah and Judaism more broadly.
I’m interested to know what others in similar situations to my own do, and where I could go to for ideas. Are there other subreddits I should visit?
By way of background:
I grew up in an irreligious (in terms of belief) but culturally traditional Jewish household. We had Shabbat dinner most weeks (but were not shomer Shabbat), celebrated most of the festivals in some way (often with a very large extended family) and went to shule a handful of times a year. Israel was an important part of our Jewish identity, as was traditional ashkenazi foods. I attended a Jewish school where most people were very similar. I have more observant relatives and felt comfortable enough in their house and shule.
As long as I can remember I have been agnostic. Probably atheist if push came to shove. I don’t know if there is a G-d and frankly the question doesn’t interest me. I don’t feel any need for G-d in my life. If the G-d of the Old Testament is real, then frankly I have severe doubts over His morals. I suspect most of not all of my family agree to an extent but we don’t discuss it. We probably should.
I like the kind of Judaism I grew up in. I like the tradition and the connection that gives you to your family, your ancestors and the broader Jewish community in your city and the world. It may be an imagined community but it is a community.
However, I don’t know how/what to teach my son about Judaism. To date, being Jewish is almost never mentioned but that was mainly because he was very young. It feels dishonest to talk about G-d when I don’t believe in G-d. I’m also not sure how to talk to an innocent 4 year-old about festivals where much of the story revolves around ‘they tried to kill us’.
There must be lots of people in a situation like me. I’d really like to hear from you.