Stacy Covitz

Family Traditions

Stacy Covitz will tell you up front that she's not your typical rabbi's wife. She has four kids and all the duties of a modern mom to balance against religious commitments like going to Temple and keeping the Shabbat. But Stacy's not one to get caught up in theory-based technicalities.

"What I love about being Jewish is the tradition and the family time it allows us," said Stacy. "I love the way we are bringing up our kids."
Although she comes from a Jewish family, Stacy didn't grow up in a traditional Jewish home. Her parents weren't practicing Jews and they didn't instill her with any particular set of spiritual beliefs.

"Religiously, there wasn't any kind of a feeling about a higher power," she said. "All of our friends were Jewish and there was the food and the music and all of that, so it was more of a cultural connection. But I was given enough Judaism to have it be familiar to me when I walked into a Temple later on in life."

That "later on" came after Stacy had her first two daughters.

"Once I had children, I felt that there was just one more part of my life that was missing," said Stacy, who started going to Temple after she became divorced from her first husband. "I wanted to give my children what wasn't given to me as far as the culture and religious traditions of being Jewish. It was great because I was able to learn about these things at the same time that my daughters were learning about them."

While living in Denver, Stacy met her husband Mark who is a rabbi. This solidified what was to become her modern Jewish family. Every Friday night, they have a family dinner in keeping with the Shabbat, or Jewish day of rest, which lasts from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

Though Stacy has found it difficult to reconcile this tradition with the sports practices, football games and other activities of her two oldest daughters, she is usually able to come up with a compromise. And then there is Hanukkah.

"Hanukkah isn't really one of the more important Jewish holidays, but it's in December and you give gifts so people kind of assume it's like the Jewish Christmas," explains Stacy. "It's about the freedom of the Jews, but mostly what it means to us is being together as a family."

They eat together, make latkas (potato pancakes), play dreidel (a game with a spinning top, Hebrew letters and chocolate coins) and light the menorah. Stacy and her family have also incorporated a new tradition: going on a Disney cruise. This provides them with a fun outing and a chance to take advantage of the vacation time that is given to schoolchildren around the holidays.

Another important day in a Jewish person's life is the bat mitzvah, which was recently celebrated by Stacy's oldest daughter.

"It was a proud moment and an amazing experience," said Stacy. "The bar or bat mitzvah is when a Jewish child becomes an adult and is responsible for keeping the commandments. To be a parent and see my daughter reading in Hebrew from the Torah, which is this long scroll that Jewish people have been reading for thousands of years, that was so surreal. I couldn't keep the tears from rolling down."

Originally from: Southern California Came here: 2002 Family includes: husband Mark, daughters Hannah, 13, Tatum, 11, Emma, 5, Ariel, 1, and cat Satchmo Hobbies: reading and sweepstaking, which involves entering every contest she can find Best thing she ever won: a chef from Washington D.C. who came down and made a gourmet 5-course dinner for 8 at her house Favorite Jewish tradition: singing a little blessing called shema to the little girls each night as she's tucking them in