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JoNightshade
10-05-2009, 07:37 AM
My MC is half-Jewish (racially). His mother grew up in a Jewish household but converted to Christianity in college. She married a guy who I wouldn't say is Christian in the sense that he doesn't give a crap about religion, but culturally he's from an average white American background.

So the part that comes into the story is that my MC has inherited his Jewish grandfather's Tanakh, tallit, and his grandmother's wedding ring, which the grandfather asked to be given to him on his 13th birthday.

Is this completely out of the question? I mean, if the grandfather was devout enough to have these objects, would he completely cut off his daughter when she converted? Or could he belong to a group that is less strict and maybe it's a divide between them, but he would still care about his grandson enough to pass on the ring?

This is a small bit of back story for my character, so I don't need to go into detail here in terms of specific sect or whatnot - just wondering if what I have is utterly unrealistic.

Rufus Coppertop
10-05-2009, 08:20 AM
My MC is half-Jewish (racially). His mother grew up in a Jewish household but converted to Christianity in college. She married a guy who I wouldn't say is Christian in the sense that he doesn't give a crap about religion, but culturally he's from an average white American background.

So the part that comes into the story is that my MC has inherited his Jewish grandfather's Tanakh, tallit, and his grandmother's wedding ring, which the grandfather asked to be given to him on his 13th birthday.

Is this completely out of the question? I mean, if the grandfather was devout enough to have these objects, would he completely cut off his daughter when she converted? Or could he belong to a group that is less strict and maybe it's a divide between them, but he would still care about his grandson enough to pass on the ring?

This is a small bit of back story for my character, so I don't need to go into detail here in terms of specific sect or whatnot - just wondering if what I have is utterly unrealistic.

Is it unrealistic to think that he might hope his 13 year old grandson will become intrigued by these items and search out his Jewish roots? You don't have to fanatically orthodox to have such items.

If I have kids who aren't Buddhist, I may well leave my statues, kangling, chod drum and thangkas to the grandkids.

blacbird
10-05-2009, 08:30 AM
There's a broad spectrum of beliefs and cultural adherence in Judaism, much as there is in any other major religion. To get a sense of that, I'd recommend you watch the movie The Chosen, featuring Rod Steiger. Excellent both for informational background and for entertainment.

Basically, you'll need to choose a little more specifically what sort of Jewish background you want to deal with.

caw

Stijn Hommes
10-05-2009, 01:12 PM
There's a whole range of Jewish beliefs, so it's not out of the question that this could happen. What really matters is how much the grandfather cares for his daughter and his grandson. He might give it to him regardless of the conversion even if he loves them more than he cares about his religion. That is a close call and it could go either way.

Medievalist
10-05-2009, 07:59 PM
It's not even a little unusual. Legally, within Judaism, if the mother is a Jew the child is a Jew.

I know people, male and female, in similar situations. And often, in less orthodox Jewish communities it's the grand parents who acculturate their grand children--an awful lot of bar/bat mitzvahs are paid for and coordinated by maternal Jewish grandparents.

I can't begin to tell you how very very common this is in Southern Ca. I know an adult male in his fifties, Jewish on both sides, who only know has had his barmitzvah (yes, it was Chabad).

DeleyanLee
10-05-2009, 08:06 PM
Also remember that the Jewish bloodline descends from the mother, not the father. I can totally see where your MC's maternal father would pass these things along, particularly if Mom had been his only daughter.

Jake G
10-05-2009, 08:21 PM
Am I your main character?

Seriously though, it isn't out of the question. Sometimes people forget that a student of the talmud can perform his/her bar/bat mitzvah rights at any edge (it's only expected to be at age 13).

The objects lean to the grandfather as a Hasidic Jew. Is this true? Then, it's harder to say if he'd hand over the ring. If he was, say, a Reconstructionist, then it isn't out of the question for him to pass along the ring to your MC.

StephanieFox
10-05-2009, 08:27 PM
I have a tallit and I'm a secular atheist Juedo Pagan Pastafarian female.

You don't need to be ultra-orthodox to have a tallit. In some reform and Reconstructionist synagogues, many women have these prayer shawls. The orthodox would never allow that.

JoNightshade
10-05-2009, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the answers everyone!

To be a little more specific, the grandfather doesn't pass the items directly to the grandson, but THROUGH the mom. (He passes away when the grandson is about 10; the mom keeps the stuff for her own reasons until SHE is dying.) So I guess my question was not so much whether the grandfather would have contact with the grandson, but whether he would have enough contact with his daughter give the stuff to her.

Anyway, it sounds like this would be fine according to many people, so we're all good. I'm not going to get any more specific since the grandson is the MC and he has no clue what group his grandfather belonged to; all he knows is that he's part Jew. Mainly I just wanted to make sure that someone reading this wouldn't say "HEY! That's SO unrealistic!"

Shakesbear
10-05-2009, 08:42 PM
Interesting questions. My father had his Tallit buried with him, as did my grandfathers.