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What Reading Heschel Taught Me About My Childhood Halloween

halloween-2894192_1920People often assume that since I didn’t spend the first 13 years of my life growing up Jewish (it’s a long story), I must have been raised Christian. This isn’t really true.

“What were you before you were Jewish?”

“Nothing?”

“What do you mean nothing?”

“I don’t know, nothing. We just, didn’t do religion.”

By the time I was 13, I had set foot in synagogue more times than I had in a church. Sure, we did celebrate Christmas—just without Christ or Mass. We had tried doing some Humanist something-something when I was little, but that was a flop. I had neither baptism nor brit habat, neither bat mitzvah nor confirmation. Until my parents converted to Judaism, religion just wasn’t a thing in my life.

This meant the number of holidays I could really sink my teeth into without the complication of God was extremely limited.

Halloween, though, was among them.