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Old 09-07-2009, 05:57 PM
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Religion in Everwood

So elements of this subject arise periodically in other threads -- episode discussion, rewatch, character-specific -- to the extent that I thought it might be interesting to create a thread for this particular topic alone. Religion, or, to put it more broadly, spirituality, manifested itself in various ways throughout the course of Everwood, some more obvious than others.

To get the ball rolling, here's a topic: Religion and the Browns. It's easy to see how Delia was impacted by this -- her quest for God/the concept of an afterlife in "Deer God," the preparations for her bat mitzvah in Season 4. She's certainly worth discussing, particularly in a consideration of how closely her spiritual questions and interests are tied to her memories of Julia. But what of Andy? Or Ephram, whose spiritual concerns -- whether they existed or not -- were never addressed at all aside from a reference to his bar mitzvah?

This particular set of questions will call for a good deal of speculation, but, hey, nothing wrong with that. Not like Berlanti's going to pop on and tell us we're off-base here.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:08 PM
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This is a fantastically interesting topic and I look forward to participating! I have to think a bit before responding because that is the only way I can function, thinking first, or else stupidity comes out instead. Heh. However, I will surely be back but until then I wanted to comment on the wonderful new thread!
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:41 PM
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Thanks, Thief. Fantastic idea and I think there's quite a lot to say about the topic. Much more than I once thought.

I'm not going to say much right now because I just came home, hee, but I really find it interesting how little Ephram deals with religion. He is either the main character or tied with Andy for the main character. Neither get much at all when it comes to their religion. And what we do see from them and any exploration of religion, it's almost all in S1. Andy's desperate plea to God to give him his joy back, tolerating and encouraging Delia's interest in the afterlife but not really ever discussing it beyond taking her to church, some of his talks with Reverend Keyes (which shifts over to S2, of course) and "The Unveiling". Ephram gets...well, he gets the final prayer in "The Unveiling", but that's all that I can actually think of for the whole entire series for Ephram. I mean, there might be more because this is me and memory we're talking about, but it's not going to be much more. And these are our two most major characters. Andy certainly appears to be religious, and I think that Ephram probably is too, but it might be interesting to speculate what they believe, why it's not a big part of either of them--at least publicly--when it is other characters, and when it is a part of them, it's only in S1. I mean, I guess the obvious answer is the immediate aftermath of Julia's death, but I don't think it's quite that simple. If it was, I think Andy deals with Julia almost as much in S2 when the show explored him and religion even less.

Anyway, as I said I have more thinking to do so I have no conclusions to make, but I do find it really interesting that both of our main Browns don't end up dealing with religion very much, and they do it's almost entirely in S1.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:22 AM
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Oooh, neat topic!

Is it in The Unveiling that Andy mentions that Ephram reads/speaks Hebrew? Seriously, that blew me away. (And made me swoon. Just a little.) I do find it interesting that it was often implied (to me anyway) that Julia was more than just Jewish by birth, she actually followed the tenants of Judaism. (I hope I'm wording that right, I certainly don't want to offend anyone by my own personal ignorance.)

I don't have much to say yet on the topic, except that being from the Bible Belt it amuses me greatly that a town of almost 10,000 population only has a small handful of churches. A town that size here would have hundreds, if not thousands, of churches. Different denominations of course (most of them Christian), but still. I grew up in a town with a population of less than 500 and we had at least seven churches that I can think of off the top of my head.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Taryn74 (View Post)
Oooh, neat topic!

Is it in The Unveiling that Andy mentions that Ephram reads/speaks Hebrew? Seriously, that blew me away. (And made me swoon. Just a little.) I do find it interesting that it was often implied (to me anyway) that Julia was more than just Jewish by birth, she actually followed the tenants of Judaism. (I hope I'm wording that right, I certainly don't want to offend anyone by my own personal ignorance.)

.
Just looking at Ephram made me swoon.

Yes, I know that boys and girls who are studying for their bat and bar mitzvahs have very long training in Hebrew school and part of the training is learning Hebrew. Of course most of these students have been attending Hebrew school since they were younger and I'm sure that Hebrew is part of the curriculum.

Yeah, it was cool to watch Ephram recite in Hebrew at the unveiling. I wish they didn't cut it off and we were able to hear the whole thing.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:12 AM
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I was looking around a bit for info on at what age Hebrew school typically begins, and, while practice can vary, especially depending on movement, it appears to usually start with 3rd grade. Assuming that it was always planned for Ephram to become bar mitzvah, it's likely that he was enrolled in Hebrew school around a comparable age.

What this leads me to is a question of why this never comes up, as far as Delia is concerned, until she's already nearly reached the age of bat mitzvah. Unless I'm forgetting a conversation (always possible), shouldn't there have been some concern about her not being able to begin Hebrew school around the same time -- which would have coincided with S1? Not that the Browns weren't grappling with something huge then, and not that Andy was much of an expert on Judaism, but surely there must have been some talk of this before Julia's death?
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:18 PM
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I was looking around a bit for info on at what age Hebrew school typically begins, and, while practice can vary, especially depending on movement, it appears to usually start with 3rd grade. Assuming that it was always planned for Ephram to become bar mitzvah, it's likely that he was enrolled in Hebrew school around a comparable age.

Quote:
What this leads me to is a question of why this never comes up, as far as Delia is concerned, until she's already nearly reached the age of bat mitzvah. Unless I'm forgetting a conversation (always possible), shouldn't there have been some concern about her not being able to begin Hebrew school around the same time -- which would have coincided with S1? Not that the Browns weren't grappling with something huge then, and not that Andy was much of an expert on Judaism, but surely there must have been some talk of this before Julia's death?
I forgot to mention, Thief, thanks for the super new topic!

As far as why the topic of Delia going to Hebrew school was never brought up....I'm not sure....but I have an opinion. I believe that in most families, it's the mom who organizes and signs up her children for extracurricular activities and Religious schools, etc. I'm sure that Andy had no clue about Hebrew school....he probably didn't even realize (until Ephram's Bar Mitzvah) that Ephram even went to Hebrew school. Delia never attended Hebrew school while Julia was alive because she was not yet in third grade.
Most students hate Hebrew school....I have observed this while listening to my students' complaints! Their compaints are that it's really difficult, the Hebrew teacher is mean, and they get a lot of homework! So, unless a parent brings up the topic of Hebrew school...the child is not going to ask for it on his/her own. Delia wasn't even aware that she should be studying for her Bat Mitzvah until a Catholic Priest informed her of that fact. Ephram could care less and had other things on his mind...therefore....he never said anything. So, the end result was NO Hebrew school!
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:47 PM
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The Abbotts were Catholic....but the only time that we saw a Catholic Church was when Harold went to Confession after performing the Abortion.
I believe that Harold was a good Catholic....appeared to follow it's code of conduct as far as morals were concerned...especially when it involved his children. Of course he did have a double standard when it came to Bright.
Harold was against Abortion and the only reason that he performed abortions in the past was to keep a promise to his father. He gave up the practice until he needed to help out Andy.
Amy was not a good practicing Catholic. I'm sure that she attended Church with her family...(although it seems that everyone attended Reverend key's church)>
She didn't, however, follow the doctrines of the Church....she believed/engaged in Pre-marital sex and she believed in Abortion. She also believed in gay rights (unfortunately, that is not on the Church's approval list.)
I don't believe that Bright believed in any organized Religion. He just wanted to have a good time.
I'm not sure about Rose. What do you guys think?
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:03 PM
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We know Bright believes in God, at least from his conversation with Hannah in "Pro Choice" about staplers and things happening for a reason, but I agree that he wasn't into organized religion. I think there'd be some moral guidelines that he might not like there, heh.

Ooh, but Rose, good question. For someone married to Harold, the most overtly religious character on the series, we certainly know little about her own beliefs. I think she attended church with Harold, although I'm really just basing this on the scene in "Fallout" when Harold and Hannah return from church and the point is made about Rose staying in bed, sick (pre-tumor discovery), which is sort of a stretch, but it's about the best we have. Her actual beliefs are much tougher to work out, though. I see her as being more devout than her children (not that that's...especially difficult), but less active, if that makes sense, than Harold.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:12 PM
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I see her as being more devout than her children (not that that's...especially difficult), but less active, if that makes sense, than Harold.
Rose was okay with Amy having sex with Ephram the first time. She was nervous...but wasn't in the panic state that Harold was in. I guess she realized that even though she would have preferred for Amy to wait....she was glad that her first time would be with Ephram. Every girl should have her first time with Ephram!
Of course, Rose didn't know everything that Harold knew. She had no clue about the Super Sperm.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:00 PM
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It's really interesting that Harold never really impacted his children to be all that active in religion. Since he is the kind of parent that likes projects and plans and schedules, I have to believe that he must have tried to get them interested when they were younger (*imagines comedic church outings*). Especially Amy. But she turns out the the complete opposite to him in this regard. Huh. I just find it fascinating that Harold is such an amazing farther, and yet he doesn't end up impacting his children when it comes to religion. He does with a lot of other issues, of course, but not one that is pretty darn important to him. In fact, you look at the whole family, and Harold is absolutely isolated. Edna isn't over religious, and as has been pointed out, neither is Rose. What's going on here? Heh. It's very odd that Harold doesn't impact a single person around him when it comes to religion. I think it's because he encourages and promotes his children to be as independent as they can (something that Amy definitely does), so maybe beyond some attempts when his kids were younger, he stopped pushing at a certain point?
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:12 PM
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It's very odd that Harold doesn't impact a single person around him when it comes to religion. I think it's because he encourages and promotes his children to be as independent as they can (something that Amy definitely does), so maybe beyond some attempts when his kids were younger, he stopped pushing at a certain point?
Could well be, and it is an interesting dilemma: if you want your children to be as engaged in religion as you are, then it makes sense to raise them in that environment, but then wanting them to be independent can lead to the opposite outcome. But then, if Amy or Bright later became more spiritually-inclined, it would be of their own choosing and thus mean more than attending church only because Harold told them to.

Do you suppose Harold Sr. was similar to his son? Because Edna, as already mentioned, certainly didn't seem to share much in Harold's religiosity, heh.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:36 PM
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Do you suppose Harold Sr. was similar to his son? Because Edna, as already mentioned, certainly didn't seem to share much in Harold's religiosity, heh.
I do believe that Harold Sr. was very similar to his son. I think Harold Sr. probably introduced Harold to church going and such, but Harold ended up loving it because, well, he loved it, hee. I do think that Harold parents in the completely opposite way than his father did, though, because there was always that distance between Harold Sr. and Harold, and Harold seems to strive so hard to make sure that there isn't one there between him and his kids (which is why S2 is so hard for him). I'm not sure what that has to do with religion...but, uh, I typed it and I don't want to delete it. I think that I was going to say that Harold Sr. probably would have pushed going to church and such more than Harold did with his kids, but he didn't even have to with Harold. Yeah. I don't know where I'm going with any of this.

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But then, if Amy or Bright later became more spiritually-inclined, it would be of their own choosing and thus mean more than attending church only because Harold told them to.
Hmm, true. I wonder if we'd ever see this if the show lasted long enough? I can't see it happening anytime soon post-S4 with either character, but it would be a really cool turn of events.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:55 PM
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I think that I was going to say that Harold Sr. probably would have pushed going to church and such more than Harold did with his kids, but he didn't even have to with Harold. Yeah. I don't know where I'm going with any of this.
Well, it all made sense, anyway, hee. Basically, Harold was the Good Kid, so even having a father who tried to steer him in a particular direction -- and the resentment that can come with that -- still resulted in his following exactly that direction, because that's just how he was naturally inclined. Unlike his progeny, heh. But maybe being that kind of a person/child meant that Harold, for as much as he encouraged his children to follow their own paths, also sort of thought they might turn out much as he did, so he felt pretty good going in about raising Amy and Bright to be independent-minded. Okay, now I'm not sure where I'm going.

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I can't see it happening anytime soon post-S4 with either character, but it would be a really cool turn of events.
I can actually imagine it happening more with Bright than with Amy, maybe because I'm factoring in the potential Hannah influence. But he also seems like he'd be more open to that than Amy would, given that she has all of Harold's fixation with facts and concrete solutions but...even moreso, somehow, heh. She seems less likely to take some things on faith (and tradition) the way that her father does.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:31 AM
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Could well be, and it is an interesting dilemma: if you want your children to be as engaged in religion as you are, then it makes sense to raise them in that environment, but then wanting them to be independent can lead to the opposite outcome. But then, if Amy or Bright later became more spiritually-inclined, it would be of their own choosing and thus mean more than attending church only because Harold told them to.

I kind of believe that Harold and Rose (like most typical parents who are fairly religious and belong to an organized religion) raised their children as Catholics...which included taking them to church....helping them receive their sacraments, etc. You can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink. I believe that Amy and Bright (like many kids when they get into their teens) decided that they really don't believe everything about their religion and do not choose to participate. A parent can't force his child to be devout. If they don't have faith or "feel it"...it's pointless to force them to attend Mass/Services. Most parents give up at that point. Of course, many children do continue practicing the faith in which they were raised because they found it meaningful for their lives. Then there are the other children stop practicing their faith in their early teens and young adulthood....but start up again when they have children of their own (in order to set a good example).

So, I'm wondering....when Amy & Ephram get married and have children....will they introduce them to an organized religion and if so, which one?

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