The Steps of Yerusha
Through Yerusha, Jewish women and men can explore the meaning and experience of being a childless Jewish adult. Here are some possible steps:
We can acknowledge our emotions. We can acknowledge that even if we are highly accomplished professionals, we may be sad, and even angry, because we are childless. At this step, if we want, we can talk about our feelings in the online forum or with a local group.
We can make peace with where we are. We can acknowledge our childlessness and explore what the Halacha says about Jews having children. Who is obligated to have a child? Men only? Men and women? Are there ways to have a "child" halachically if we are childless? What have the Rabbis said? Are our feelings of sadness or anger justified? Does Jewish tradition look down on us for our childlessness? Does it support us in any way?
We can explore what legacies we could leave to the Jewish people. Although we may not have biological children, we can leave an inheritance (yerusha) to future generations. We look to Halacha for suggestions, to each other for ideas, and within ourselves for what we can share with the Jewish people and the world. For some, this may be money; for others, it may be books we have written, art we have created, or organizations we have founded. We can explore ways to contribute to the future of the Jewish people.
We can hope. We can encourage the belief in ourselves, and in others we meet through Yerusha, that we can have children. Even if we have made peace with where we are, we can follow the latest technological advances in conception, we can adopt, we can be foster parents, we can leave a legacy in the form of artistic creations, organizations, or funds that help children and others. We can hope that someday we will think of ourselves as Jewish parents, creators of a Jewish future, guardians of our heritage—in whatever form our "children" may take.