My five year old daughter, Meital, recently began singing “A Pirate King” from The Pirates of Penzance. She learned it from a book – well, actually, she learned it from me. We were doing some bedtime reading from a pirate-related children’s book, and in the story, the main character begins singing, “When I sally forth to seek my prey/I help myself in a royal way/ I sink a few more ships it’s true/than a well-bred monarch ought to do.” I’m assuming that the book author did not actually expect readers to know both the melody and the rest of the lyrics to this song. The passage was just sort of stuck in the book, set apart from the text, one of those italicized poems that it is assumed modern readers will skip and move on. But the author I guess didn’t anticipate me. I’ve been singing the Pirates of Penzance since I was 11 years old. By the time I got to the part of the song that goes, “For I am a Pirate King/ and it is it is a glorious thing to be a pirate king, Yes!” I was dancing around the bedroom waving my air-sword. I admit I’m no Kevin Kline, but Meital, lying in bed way past her bedtime, smiled and said, “Do it again!” We have been singing sections of the Pirates of Penzance ever since, with a little help from the magic of YouTube, and it is, it is a glorious thing. Yes!
This is what (I hope) is a happy motherhood moment. Meital pulls up the stool as I’m cutting vegetables for dinner and chants, “Oh false one, you have deceived me!” To which I respond in my best dainty half-pitched voice, “I have deceived you?” And she replies, in her best angry baritone, “Yes, deceived me.” When I carpool from gan, the other children look at us a bit funny when Meital starts in with, “Oh better far to live and die under the brave black flag I cry.” I don’t care about these looks. These are my cherished moments.
Sztokman then reports on the Kolech discussion of birth control that offended Mishali:
Petrekovsky described severe mental and emotional anguish that results from all of this reproductive pressure. It should be obvious. The numbers are hard to come by, but it is clear that the system is going to eventually crash. Petrekovsky talked about her fear that many will leave religion. [MiI: Emphasis mine.] We have no statistics whatsoever on women leaving religion because all the studies on the “datlash” (formerly religious) phenomenon in Israel were done on men. Shraga Fisherman’s well-known Noar Ha-Kipot Hazrukot (Youth of the Strewn Skullcaps) research study about the 20-25% of religious youth leaving religion is all about men and not women (hence the title).
I know many women who have raised large families, and to me they seem as frum as ever if not more so. But I am intrigued. Is there anything to this concern? Do you know any mothers of many who have left yiddishkeit?