“Mommy, Tatty says you’re not Jewish anymore.”
With those little words, spoken by a little man too old for his age, my heart broke. I knew the pulling away had started. I knew that for the rest of his life, he would hear how he and his brother were abandoned by a cruel and selfish mother.
I imagined the different stages of stories. Cheider age, I’m no longer Jewish. I’ve done aveiros and cut myself off. The sophistication grows with my sons’ ages; by bar mitzvah they’re being bullied about being bnei zona. They know enough about my history to know that what their father is saying about me is true, that their sister is nothing more than the product of something illicit and dirty and that I probably do drugs as well.
By my oldest’s tenoyim, they’ll look knowingly at him and feel a sense of accomplishment that his whore of a mother didn’t jeopardize his chances for a good shidduch. His younger brother will breathe a sigh of relief a year or two later that he can finally get on with his life now that he has a beautiful, aidel kallah and no trace of the woman who gave birth to him.
When my first grandchild is born, I will hear second- or third-hand. I’ll likely never see that she has my eyes and the nose I inherited from my grandmother. I won’t be invited to simchos. My grandchildren will call another woman Bobby.
There is nothing I can do. Nothing but sit back and watch as my children pull away slowly but surely. There is evil that exists in the velt, and it is in the hearts of rabbonim and leaders who would rather children grow up without a loving parent than give up a warped ideal of uniformity and worship.
This is the ongoing crisis. This is the cause we need to keep the spotlight on. For Deb Tambor, for all of us.