To Turn to Judaism Is to Turn toward Life

May 25, 2021 | Nellie Bowles
About the author:

Earlier this month, a left-wing Catholic journalist wrote an essay about the joys of young motherhood—provoking a storm of outrage, mostly on social media, from fellow educated leftists. Nellie Bowles sees in this hostility to the creation of new life evidence of a new breed of “nihilism” that is rapidly beginning to resemble a “death cult.”

Apocalypse is around the corner. Exhaustion is the mode. To create children is ecoterrorism. Parents are the oppressor class. . . . As the window sign on my block—right next to the Black Lives Matter sign—reminds me: existence is pain. This cult happens to be run by the luckiest people in the history of the world—a group who has healthier longer lives and more leisure and more power than their ancestors could have even imagined.

New data have shown just how sharply the fertility rate in wealthy countries is falling. That’s a very real thing. But according to [these nihilists], to care about the plunging birthrate . . . around the world is, for some reason, . . . racism, so we can’t even talk about it without risking the ire of the apocalypse-now brigade and, of course, our jobs.

Anyway, it’s sad. I think there will be a lot of heartbreak in a few years as millennial uterus-having people realize we are, by and large, middle-aged women. And that while children are by no means the whole purpose of life, they’re a potentially wonderful part of it.

I see my conversion [to Judaism] in part as a turn away from all this sort of thinking, and there’s lots of ways to phrase that turn. But I guess I could just say the obvious: Judaism is, in fact, not a death cult. And I like that about it.

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