JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Noah’s Ark

My 5-year-old son attends Hebrew School every Sunday. Recently, he’s been learning about Noah’s Ark. Scratch that—more than learning about it. He’s being taught that Noah’s Ark was real.

You, of course, say—no, duh. What do you expect in Hebrew School? And, I admit, that makes sense. But I’m still irked. My family belongs to an extremely, extremely, extremely reformed temple. I’d guess, oh, 70 percent of the members don’t even believe in God. Come services, people are, generally, twitching and shaking and waiting for the dang things to end. Jewish guilt is a powerful weapon, so we attend. But we’re not there happily, or especially willingly.

I digress—the Ark. I’d say 99.9 percent of American Jews don’t believe in the literal interpretation of the story. Maybe there’s a moral or a lesson. But truth? No. So why do we teach these things as fact? Why do little kids need to believe them?

Answer: No sure.

Time for bed …