In a recent study by the Pew Research Center it was determined that there is an increased secularism of American Jews. It has caused a lashing out of vicious un-loving remarks from Jews across the country blaming families like mine for the loss of membership in their institutions. My own recent experience of being discriminated against by members of the Jewish community for being a non-Jewish spouse to one of their own - certainly made me angry enough that I ALMOST pulled my children out of Hebrew School. Instead, I thought I would give the congregation a chance to prove that they had the Chutzpah to make comments to my face (and not just to my Jewish spouse). What isn't being mentioned is the fact that the study reflects that secularism is on the rise in the United States across the board. Here I provide some conversational context for those who, upon seeing the results of the study, went looking for someone to blame.
Personal History (modified from oral telling and basic math):
A few generations ago there was a black woman who was brought to the United States and sold as a slave in the American South. She had a tribal religion from Africa. She was raped by the son of the Baptist man who purchased her body and she had a daughter. That daughter, born a slave, ran away and married a Cherokee Man. She had no particular religion but, was good with herbs. They were forced to leave their home and moved to Arkansas. They had a daughter there, she made moonshine, and smoked a pipe and learned from her mother, they branded her a witch. She married a man and they had children one was born in Missouri. He moved to Kansas and wed a young woman whose family had been assimilated on a reservation in Oklahoma, they went to church. They had three daughters. One of their daughters married a man from an Irish family (who had their own history of religious conversion and assimilation). Before they had married, the man had a son with a Catholic Guatemalan woman and the marriage was annulled. The son was raised in Guatemala as a Christian. They had six children together, who they raised as United Methodists. One of their daughters married three times, having four children. Her first marriage was to a Presbyterian and produced one son (he is now a Lutheran), Her second marriage was to a Re-Organized Mormon (a religion that was less than two hundred years old) produced two daughters (one is a secular Christian, the other a Taoist) her third marriage was to a Jew and they had one daughter (she is being raised Jewish). This woman also had a cousin who also married a Jew - and that cousin had three daughters who they raised Jewish. The woman's Taoist daughter, from her second marriage, also married a Jew. This daughter had two children who are being raised as Jews. This family went from zero Jews to eight (the Taoist has not yet converted).
Religious History (the creation of an expanded family tree):
But Naomi replied, "Turn back, my daughters! Why should you go with me? Have I any more sons in my body who might be husbands for you? Turn back, my daughters, for I am too old to be married. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I were married tonight and I also bore sons, should you wait for them to grow up? Should you on their account debar yourselves from marriage? Oh, no my daughters! My lot is far more bitter than yours, for the hand of the LORD has struck out against me."
They broke into weeping again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law farewell. But Ruth clung to her. So she said, "See your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods. Go follow your sister-in-law." But Ruth replied, "Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go; I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your G_d my G_d. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may the LORD do to me if anything but death parts me from you."
and the story continues with the meeting of Boaz . . . May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the House of Israel!
Historical Context (incomplete, non-chronological order):
Age of Enlightenment, Literacy, The Printing Press, Colonization, Darwin, Industrialization, Modernism, Post-Modernism, Capitalism, Feminism, Fascism, Corporatism, World Wars, Radio, Human Rights, Television. Civil Rights. GLBT Rights. Isolationism. Globalization. The Internet.
Popular Culture (a sampling - not rated by impact or importance):
Jazz, Rock and Roll, Laugh-In, Father Knows Best, Punk, EMO, Sesame Street, Age of Aquarius, Joan Baez, The Beatles, Muppet Show, Dalai lama, The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, Barbie Dolls, Bob Dylan, Stephen Spielberg, Star Wars, The Daily Show, Fox News, Bill Cosby, Oprah, Channel One, Shirley Temple, MTV, Twitter . . . the list is long in history and content . . . add your own - Here is one more: