Friday, July 22, 2011

Crossing bridges

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The minute Naomi started taking ballet classes, there were questions from all sides:  “What if she decides she wants to be a professional dancer?  What will you do then?”  Not often, but often enough.

Because obviously, such a thing is impossible for a religious Jew who believes women shouldn’t dance for mixed audiences, wear tight-fitting clothing… and so on.

Maybe folks are just curious, but the unspoken question is sometimes, “Do you love your religion more than your daughter?”

Of course, the answer is YES:  I do.  It’s not really the religion we love, but God, who offers powerful suggestions in the form we understand today as Judaism.  And hopefully, it’s not an either/or, like it was with Avraham.  I doubt I’ll ever have to choose one or the other.

But the implication is sometimes that my faith is somehow abusing or limiting my daughter by cutting her off from these types of careers.  The stained-glass ceiling.

But then, since I signed her up for summer soccer, nobody has came forward and asked what I’d do if she decided she wanted to become a professional soccer player.

Maybe because the odds of turning her into a professional futbalista are low – but then, what are the odds that any given 6-year-old aspiring dancer will go on to even BEGIN full-time training, let alone complete it and dance ballet professionally?

I’ll just let them play…find their talents:  cross bridges when we come to them.

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(p.s.  The girls creamed the boys – 8:1)

2 comments:

  1. That's a very healthy approach to the religious dilemma. I grew up religious (dad was a Pentecostal minister) and it seems like every kid who had a strict religious upbringing that denied them things like dancing- grew up to lead anything but religious lives.

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  2. I don't know whether they still offer it, but The Dance Place at Sheppard and Wilson Heights used to offer a girls-only dance class that they designed specifically for frum girls. All performances were for mothers and other women only, and I think the class uniform involved skirts just past the knee. You might have some options if she wants to continue dancing.

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