“Why do we do it like this?”
“Because that’s how it ‘s always been done.”
“Embracing Rituals: A Journey of Personalization and Freedom”
Intrigued by the prospect of personalization and unafraid to question the status quo, I ventured on a remarkable journey that reshaped my perspective on rituals, tradition, and the significance of marking time. Join me in exploring the world of meaningful rituals, as we break free from convention and embrace a new way of connecting with our past, present, and future.
The Foundation of Tradition
My story begins in a conservative Jewish household located just outside of the bustling city of Boston. I was the third of four daughters born to my father, a Rabbi who led a prominent conservative synagogue. Our lives were steeped in rituals, a rich tapestry of Jewish customs intertwined with unique family traditions, guided by my parents’ distinct code of ethics.
These rituals were meticulously explained to us, down to the finest details. I received a comprehensive education, attending a Jewish Day School and spending my summers at camp, where I immersed myself in the history, roots, and obligations associated with each ritual. Despite the comfort of these age-old traditions, I yearned for a sense of ownership.
The “Wicked” Child
Within the confines of my family, I held a rather unconventional title: the “Wicked” child, a reference to the Passover Seder. Why? Because I was insatiably curious and never afraid to ask questions. I went far beyond the customary four questions, seeking answers and challenging them when they fell short. If the answers didn’t satisfy me, I embarked on a mission to negotiate for alternatives, and when all else failed, I occasionally resorted to pretense.
No one was harmed, and there were no arrests, but I did occasionally get caught, earning myself the endearing nickname “Rebel Yellin,” while others affectionately referred to me as “Rabbi Spice”.
A Journey of Self-Discovery
As I progressed through college, my commitment to personalizing rituals outgrew the confines of my family. I found myself delving deep into comparative religions and exploring discontinued and evolving practices. What I discovered was a beautiful blend of honoring, respecting, cultivating, embracing, and personalizing rituals. This newfound understanding created a fresh paradigm for connecting with the past, present, and future.
I took ownership of my participation in these rituals, eventually creating space for my children and others to infuse their unique perspectives and meanings into each cherished moment we chose to commemorate.
You Get to Decide
The message is clear: don’t be swayed by those who insist there’s only one “right” way to acknowledge time and space. You have the authority to decide, and you should do so with confidence and joy. Celebrate where you’ve been, embrace the present, and look forward to your journey ahead.
As the New Year approaches, may you embark on your own adventure of personalizing rituals, embracing freedom, and connecting with the magnificent tapestry of time and tradition.