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One Teen's Exploration

"The only thing I have ever felt guilty about [regarding religion] is the fact that my mother isn't Jewish, which dictates whether I am considered Jewish." But Matt Lash, twenty-two, a marketing copywriter in New York, knows that it is no fault of his own and has always thought of himself as Jewish. In fact, it was his Christian mother who has been one of his greatest supports.

"Believe it or not," he says, "my gentile mother was more aware of my struggles with being Jewish than my Jewish father was. My mother has always been great about embracing my Jewish heritage. She'd always do little things. Years ago, she bought me a Star of David pendant which I wear around my neck every day. She once bought me a small menorah that I could bring with me when I moved away from home. I talk to her quite frequently about being Jewish and Jewish issues. I suppose I wish I had a closer relationship with my father and his family so I could have experienced more of a 'Jewish' life when I was younger. But then again, this has pushed me to explore my Jewishness on my own to compensate for my distance from my Jewish family."

Matt Lash expresses more of his feelings about being Jewish in an interfaith family in his own website:

Known in Hebrew as "magen David" (literally," shield of David"), it is more commonly recognized as the star of David, a six-point star. The symbol has origins in the Torah, and has been used as a symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism in Europe since the Middle Ages. Hebrew for "candelabrum" or "lamp," it usually refers to the nine-branched candelabrum that is lit for the holiday of Hanukkah. (A seven-branched candelabrum, a symbol of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, is a symbol of Judaism and is included in Israel's coat of arms.)
Ilene Springer

Ilene Springer is a freelance writer based in Dover, New Hampshire.

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