Susan Goldberg, aka Mama Non Grata, has just published a terrific article, ”Que(e)rying the matrilineal principle,” in Lilith magazine, the Jewish feminist powerhouse. Susan questions what it means to be “born Jewish” when Jewish identity is traditionally passed on through the mother—and her sons are only biologically connected to her non-Jewish spouse.
I’ve often wondered about this myself, since I am a Jewish mom (albeit a non-observant one) who donated an egg to my shiksa wife in order to create our child. I like to think that might befuddle a few Talmudic scholars. In her article, Susan explores the strands of heritage and identity and comes up with a conclusion that I like a lot. I won’t spoil the punchline, but I will quote one of my favorite lines from her piece, “Occasionally, the responsibility and the sheer work involved in creating our own path forward feel overwhelming, but it’s necessary work if we want our children to make informed, responsible decisions about their lives, rather than simply deferring to unexamined authority.”
Wise words for all, whether related to Judaism or to any other religion or culture.
If that’s not enough, Susan is doing a giveaway in association with the article. Go visit Mama Non Grata for details. You could win a free copy of the whole issue of Lilith in which her article appears. (If you don’t win, never fear. You can still read her article online.)
Susan is also one of the editors of the fantastic collection of essays And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families. Highly recommended. (Here’s my review of it, if you need more convincing.)
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