In the Motherlode parenting section in the NY Times, Lisa Belkin writes Navigating Religious Divides Within Families about “parents out there who are befuddled by children who are more religious than they were raised.”
The article focuses on Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs, of East Windsor, N.J., a mother of an Orthodox daughter and son-in-law and 7 Orthodox grandchildren. The grandmother can’t take the grandchildren out for the day alone; no overnights, no baby-sitting, and no vacations.
Mrs. Dinerstein-Kurs has founded a support group for others in the same boat, called Parents of Religious Kids (PORK). Her advice for navigating religious divides within families is to rise to the highest degree of observance.
“I keep my house to the (kosher) level of my daughter and her family,” she says. “so anyone who comes to my house can eat, no matter who they are.”
The comments section turned into a bash-religion fest until this constructive comment by Chaya from Passaic:
I was raised in a reform Jewish household and now follow a Torah-observant lifestyle. Alienation and estrangement are not inherent in religious differences. They are obstacles to be overcome.
I love my parents (one a non-observant Jew and the other a non-Jew) and am committed to honoring them in the way the Torah shows me. If anything, I have become more committed to my relationships with them since becoming observant.
Part of that commitment is facilitating a close relationship between them and their grandchildren. This means being creative and vigilant on both sides to navigate religious issues.
By the way, some of the details of the Jewish family described in the post don’t make much sense. I think something might have been lost in the reporting.