Just do both.


by Sam Rosenthal, AIA



I recently hosted my older son’s Cub Scout den meeting. We’d wrapped up the Backyard Jungle and Games Tigers Play, so we were kicking off a new topic: Duty to God. At first I was dreading this, but then I got really excited. My entire life has been an interesting mix and I’ve never known any different. My parents met at a half-way point between their worlds. That point was Texas A&M in College Station, which is about 1,500 miles from NYC and Puebla Mexico.

I was raised Jewish with roots in an Orthodox family from Germany and Austria. My dad is the first person in our family to be born in America. My mom is one of 11 kids from a staunchly Catholic Mexican family. Growing up, what we did depended on who we were with.

My wife was also raised as a Catholic. Our friends ask us about how we plan to raise our kids and what will we teach them. I’ve never really thought much about it, because we do both. I love putting up our family Christmas tree and decorating it with the mariachi ornaments and armadillo on top. We’ve been gifted homemade Hanukkah decorations that look great next to the sand filled globes from our trip to the beach.

We had a great meeting with the Scouts as I showed off the mezuzah at our door and explained what it means for us, while in the next breath I pivoted to our Christmas tree and menorah and explained to everyone that we just do both things because it is who we are.

A few months ago I had coffee with a friendly client who was agonizing about whether he should continue in his current facility with some upgrades or to consider an opportunity to move to a new space with different challenges. After discussing his needs for more public outreach and maintaining identity I asked him why not just do both?