Discussion Questions for Pitching My Tent
by Anita Diamant
1. Diamant writes: "I had very little formal religious education." Why, then, do you think religion comes to play such a large role in her understanding of the world? If there wasn't a great deal of religious schooling in her youth, what events and influences eventually transformed her approach to faith?
2. Family is a blessing for Diamant, but she is candid about the occasional struggles posed by married life. She says, "religious ritual and affiliation are mainstays of our marriage." Cite specific examples of how this is true. Also, discuss additional tools, aside from faith, used by the author to keep her marriage strong in the face of adversity.
3. Of her daughter, Diamant writes: "After her bat mitzvah, Jewish observance became more and more a matter of her own choosing. I can remind and I can nag, I can and do put my foot down when it's important enough. But ultimately she will choose how to be Jewish for herself." Does Diamant seem at ease with this truth? How do you think her style of parenting will eventually affect Emilia's spiritual life? How did the influences of your family shape your own religious thought?
4. What role does humor play in religion for Diamant? How does she reconcile this with more serious practices? Are the two inextricably linked?
5. In the case of the essay on Columbine and elsewhere, how does Diamant balance preparing her daughter for the world and prote