Pitching My Tent
On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, Anita Diamant was a columnist. Over the course of two decades, she wrote essays about friendship and family, work and religion, ultimately creating something of a public diary reflecting the shape and evolution of her life -- as well as the trends of her generation.
Pitching My Tent collects the finest of these essays, all freshly revised, updated, and enriched with new material, forming a cohesive and compelling narrative. Organized into six parts, the shape of the book reflects the general shape of adult life, chronicling its emotional and practical milestones. There are sections on marriage and the nature of family ("Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage"); on the ties that bind mother and child ("My One and Only"); on the demands and rewards of friendship ("The Good Ship"); on the challenges of balancing Jewish and secular calendars ("Time Wise"); on midlife ("In the Middle"); and on what it means to embrace Judaism in today's culture ("Home for the Soul").
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Read an Excerpt
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, I was a columnist.
I wrote essays about friendship and fashion, about marriage and electoral politics, about abortion, lingerie, situation comedies, birth, death, God, country, and my dog. I covered the waterfront and the supermarket, my synagogue, the waiting room outside the intensive care unit, and my own kitchen table.
I did this over the course of twenty years for publications that included a weekly newspaper with a mostly twenty-something readership, and later for a Sunday-magazine audience of... see more
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Reading Group Guide
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 see more