As I sit in my office listening to the rain pounding the roof, my mind drifts off to our Sunday morning breakfast at Goldberg's New York Bagels located in Pikesville, MD. Before Mark was born, I would get in my car and go every Sunday. To my surprise Colin, woke me up and said that he wanted to go, and get bagels and that we would take Mark. It's intresting to go to a place that is frequented by Orthodox Jews. People do their best to make you feel welcome, but usually I'm the lone Black women in the crowd, except for some of the hired help. I'm always curious about the wigs that most of the women wear on their head, and I wonder how I would look with one similar to what they have. They all seem to know one another, and the whole setting always feels like a family affair, and very idyllic. We sit at our table, waiting for the server to bring our everything bagels, and we hand Mark a prayer bagel. Prayer bagels are little pieces of bagels which have been cut to be used as part of prayer.
I like building memories, so I turned to Colin and explained to him all of the feelings that I was having at that moment. Colin took a more materialistic approach. He said that the family values exhibited at Goldberg's Deli were not religious but were a trade-off between money and family. In his view, if you are not wealthy and want to spend quality time with your family, you have to work fewer hours, commute less and live where your family is rather than where the money is. By family, he explained, he meant extended family. In India, we saw whole families making charcoal in a dirt lot. That meant the kids didn't go off to University and/or move to the United States to seek their fortune. Instead they stayed with their parents scratching out a living in the family business.
Colin's thinking is that giving up wealth could be a key to stronger family values, and therefore religion does not play a role. In spite of what he is saying, I think religion and culture play a role in family development. With that said I have never been one who has faith in any religion and I have a serious problem with the tenets of most religion. In the end, our family will find many things to do that will strengthen it besides getting up for a Sunday service.