My 2017 holiday card seen here, is being sent to both my atheist and religious friends living in the Seattle area. As you’ll read in our feature, we rank at the top of the charts for non- religious families. Giving them a voice was our goal with this month’s feature.
But I’ll admit, I struggled with the topic. My worry upon reading the story: Without traditional religion, how can we make sure to educate our children about the centuries of Golden Rule values that are so often rooted in religious teachings?
Reading our feature made me ponder — once again — where I stand on this and other religious questions. While I’m deeply fascinated by my family’s Jewish origins and our history filled with the tragedy of pogroms and the Holocaust, I also adore the endless joy of celebrating holidays in all their myriad forms, and not just the religious ones.
There is one Jewish tradition that I do particularly love: breaking a glass under the chuppah, or wedding canopy. For those who don’t know, this tradition is meant to remind us of the world’s great catastrophes even on a joyous day. It’s a collective moment of bittersweet learning and inspiration that deepens the meaning of our lives.
Finding that meaning, however you do, is what matters most. From generation to generation, we must teach our children not just how but why it’s so important to treat others with respect, understanding and love. We must show them why it’s meaningful to treat others as you yourself would want to be treated. This doesn’t require a belief in God. It does require a belief in humanity.
With that, I wish you a holiday season filled with goodness, kindness and compassion. However your family celebrates, may you only know joy.
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