NY Times Talks New Time Religion with Brooklyn Heights Couple

Homer’s pals the Claymans get a shout out in a piece in today’s NY Times about new ways people observing the Sabbath:

NY Times: “Sometimes doing things halfway is exactly what we need to do,” said Amanda Clayman, a therapist who lives in Brooklyn Heights. Ms. Clayman, who recently converted to Judaism, and her husband, Greg, an executive vice president at MTV Networks who was born Jewish but grew up nonobservant, select from the panoply of Sabbath rituals the customs that seem most meaningful to them. At the moment, these are the ones that involve making and partaking of a traditional Friday night dinner.

“Our Shabbat starts on Friday morning, like in the old days,” said Ms. Clayman, who takes Fridays off to be with her 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Alexandra. “Alex and I get up, we talk about what we’re going to make for dinner, we go to the butcher shop, we get a chicken, we roast the chicken.”

Another ritual has Mr. Clayman blessing his wife and Alexandra just before the meal. Ms. Clayman loves play-acting the parts of the old-fashioned Jewish family: “When Daddy gets home and the house looks nice and Daddy gets to put his hands on us and bless us, it’s very masculine in a way that men don’t often have the opportunity to be in this enlightened society, and we talk about what’s something great that Mommy did for us this week. This is a time in which we get to inhabit these timeless, traditional family roles.”

Share this Story:

, ,

  • sue

    oy. cafeteria religion is a shonda. and if you wanted to play-act the parts of an old-fashioned jewish family, follow the script of Portnoy’s Complaint. Nobody puts their hands on anyone. You scream. You yell. You pull the psychological scabs off each other. Now that’s timeless and traditional.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    “Timeless, traditional family roles,” aka the partriarchy which came in at roughly the same time as Jehovah the sky-god, that is, during the Bronze Age (3000 BC – 1200 BC).

  • Andrew Porter

    One of my Sabbath rituals is the slamming of the door in the face of the bell-ringing JH’s. On alternate weeks I pretend to pour boiling lead on them from the battlements while muttering “Sanctuary!” to myself.

    Actually, I am non-observant, having discovered through my parents the wonderful world of well-fried bacon.

  • digby

    wtf? slow blog day?

  • Homer Fink

    We missed you digby!

  • Portnoy

    I do love me some well-fried bacon, it’s true. I also like lighting candles on sabbath. Is that old fashioned? Not sure. Also not sure what “cafeteria religion” is, but if it means I can have a ham sandwich on Thursday and still get to say prayers on Friday then I’m all in!