Being Jewish in Colorado

Question

Hello! To preface this, I must say that I myself am not Jewish. Rather, I am emailing you on behalf of my younger cousin, who is. I apologize if this isn’t the kind of questions that you usually handle.

My cousin, Hannah, is 10. Her mother was Jewish, while Hannah’s father (my uncle) is not (he’s agnostic, most of our family is agnostic or some denomination of Christian). However, Hannah’s mother unfortunately died when she was quite young, leaving my uncle to raise her alone. Hannah has expressed that she feels estranged from her Jewish heritage, and very much wants to connect.

Our family is fully supportive of this, but also at a bit of a loss on how to help her in this. She has no immediate Jewish relatives, and dropping her off at the nearest synagogue once a week alone makes her father uncomfortable.

Would it be appropriate for him to accompany her?

Another concern is her bat mitzvah. It is our understanding that a proper bat mitzvah involves a lot of planning on the parent’s part, and a lot of studying for Hannah to prepare. Could you offer some insight into how we can best support her and help her reconnect with her culture (and possibly religion)? For reference, we live in Colorado in the U.S..

, , 2 months

Answers

  1. I read your letter twice with a growing feeling of how wonderful your family sounds – especially Hannah’s father – that you are happy to try and help Hannah connect to her Jewish heritage. Please rest assured that Hannah’s father can accompany Hannah to Synagogue. I am sure that the community will welcome them both.

    If you let me know where in Colorado they live, I will be happy to try and connect you to the nearest Orthodox community. Once you have the contact information, the simplest thing would be for Hannah’s father to phone the Rabbi and explain the situation, and let Rabbi and Hannah’s father work out the best way to let Hannah experience some Jewish life.

    The same is really true with regards to Hannah’s Bat Mitzvah. I would suggest that Hannah’s father discuss the possible options with the Rabbi of the community, and they can decide together what would be best for Hannah.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team