I’m an ex -Yeshivah girl. For those of you who don’t know what a yeshivah is, it is an academic program where students spend half the day studying Hebrew and Jewish subjects and the other half immersing themselves in English subjects. There is also a good dose of religious schooling based on the old testament but the main focus, as I have found with most religious curricula is a real emphasis on being a good, solid citizen of this planet. Of course this kind of schooling took its toll on me when at 15 I decided I needed to break free of its social constraints and pursue the pleasures of the secular world and all it had to offer. This one decision truly changed the trajectory of my life and informed all the subsequent life altering decisions I made as a result. Of course I can’t say I regret any of it — as changing even an iota of my experience would irrevocably alter the person I am today. I never would have Married My Sugar daddy for starters — because although he was a Jewish Doctor when I met him — he was a Yom Kippur Jew at best — and certainly not a Gd fearing one. But when I met him I just knew, I knew I wanted to make babies with him. It was that simple. Of course I didn’t think down the line to what raising those babies with him would entail especially when it came to our basic, fundamental differences about the existence of an afterlife- a gd and religion in general. And we have had our moments. Many uncomfortable ones especially when it came to my need to give my kids a Jewish education aka a Yeshivah education. I can’t really explain it — maybe it was my need to please my parents and make up for the fact that I didn’t marry a “religious guy” or maybe it was my own deep-seated need to have my children carry on the legacy of so many generations before them. To be able to sit in a synagogue and know what the cantor was reciting. To study these ancient texts and find meaning in them and substance so many years later. Maybe it was a primal need to have them carry on what I left behind as a surly 16 year old. It is hard to articulate why I have felt so passionately about sending them to a school that my husband CONSTANTLY reminds me I have to pay for when school is FREE and well… the list goes on.
My daughter is 12, on the cusp of turning 13 and while she’s been privy to our clashing over her schooling it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally heard her say something to her father-and it got me right in my gut. Here is just a snippet of the conversation.
My husband: “I don’t get it — so if I am not as religious as I should be does that mean I go to hell.”
My daughter: “In Judaism the only people who go to hell are murderers, so Daddy you are not going to Hell.”
My husband: “So does that mean I get to go to heaven” My daughter: “Yes, but your heaven might not be as big.”
My husband: ” I still don’t get it”.
My daughter: “It’s okay. You just do the best you can Hashem will not judge you”.
And it hit me — whether or not Gd/Hashem exists, this religion has made my daughter see the world as a benevolent place, to see a higher power as forgiving and loving- and to feel this sense of security about her destiny in a way that my husband never will. And sure I wrestle with the fact that this is one issue that has and will continue to be a sticking point in my marriage I can only hope my decision will sustain my kids and their belief in their faith, that it will wrap them in warmth and will envelop them for years to come. This post originally appeared on MarriedMySugarDaddy.com