A rabbi’s account of how she helped her two adopted sons from Ethiopia assimilate Jewish cultural traditions and blend into her family.
Silverman (co-author: Jewish Family and Life: Traditions, Holidays, and Values for Today's Parents and Children, 1997) grew up with nonpracticing Jewish parents who, through divorce and remarriage, eventually evolved into a “sprawling, unconventional, and finally happy family.” When she started her own family after college, it was with a devoutly Jewish man who actively supported political causes and inspired her to learn more about her cultural and religious traditions. After going “from zero to two children within two years” and writing a book about the “organic relationship between Jewish life and progressive, activist values,” she decided to live out her most cherished dream of adopting a child from abroad. She and her husband registered with an adoption agency and allowed their faith to guide them to the two boys they adopted from Ethiopia, a country with historical ties to Judaism. The sense of fulfillment she experienced was profound. So was the frustration at being unable to give her adopted children more than a “messy mosaic” of family stories within “the unwieldy unfolding narrative of Jewish people” upon which to construct their identities and lives. When her first adopted son, Adari, began to express his unhappiness at being unable to live in a “brown family,” Silverman saw just how far the lived reality of blended family life was from her Edenic visions. Yet for all its imperfections, which she and her husband embraced with open arms, she also realized what a miracle her family was. In a book rich in understanding and humor, the author chronicles her quest to bring herself and her family closer to God. She also meditates on what it means to live as a broken being in a beautifully imperfect world.
Warm and spiritually engaging.