Well I should be lesson planning, but instead I'm going to update this blog some more. Just don't expect a million entries a day like last week :)
So 2007, this year... well right after new years I met B, my boyfriend. When I met up with him I was not planning on dating him, and later that night I went to a potluck shabbat dinner at a friend's place...but the whole time I was there I was thinking "hey, that guy was pretty awesome!". A week later I invited him to my place when I had a bunch of friends over on a friday night, and that sunday we hung out again, since as he said, we hadn't really gotten to hang out that much with all my friends around. A week after THAT we hooked up for the first time, and a few days later he was all calling me his girlfriend. I of course freaked out the first time that happened...and many subsequent times. A month or two later (in march I believe) i told my parents about him.
So here is the first few months in 2007:
I've decided i definitely have to tell my parents about him when i go visit them in 2 weeks, and see what happens with that. (i have it all planned...i want to have a conversation with my mom anyways about how i'm always in fear of her disowning me for something or other, and i'm afraid to tell her stuff important in my life because i know she'll disaprove. I've been meaning to have that conversation for a while, and it would be a good segway into the "yeah i'm dating a non jewish man, and it's getting kinda serious" conversation
Recently a friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend of 6 months(who is aweosme) because he is jewish, she is not, and his family would totally shun him if he ended up marrying her or something.
This has been on my mind a lot lately, given that I am now in a similar situation. I love B, but I know that to stay with him means a great deal of my family will eventually be shunning me.
So now is the point where in my head (and now in my livejournal) i'm playing the religious shunning game! Basically this game consists of going through all my relatives and trying to predict which will shun me in the future.
I'm 100% sure that every member of my extended family on my mom's side will shun me...and you know what? It really will not affect my life at all. Besides missing out on that sweet inheritance money...but I'm pretty sure i've already been written out of people's wills. I already cut off all contact with my grandmother, other than forced contact (like when i go home for thanksgiving and my parents invite her over), because she is a psycho bitch. And since my grandfather has been browbeaten by her psychoticness he'd probably shun me too. That'd be sad, cause i think he would actually be a cool guy if ever my grandmother wasn't around. But it's not like i'm missing anything, cause I haven't talked to him in years.
My mom's sister family is a bunch of religious nuts who have told their (married) daughter she can't use birth control until she's had a boy and a girl...so now she's pregnant with her second child at age 20. The younger people in that family are kinda cool, but I know it's just because they're not old enough to express opinions to people as old as I am (cause I guess now I'm kinda an adult, no matter how much in denial I'm in about it). My mom's brother's family is alright...his wife is totally rad, she's this hardcore feminist lawyer. She'd probably shun me as well though, cause her parents were holocaust survivers and she's really into the whole 'keeping the jewish people alive' shiznit.
Now my dad's side of the family...that one's tricky. My dad has a cousin who married a non jewish woman, and that family is still invited to weddings and bar mitzvahs and stuff. My dad's sister lives in Israel, and much of her kids do as well...I pretty much can't stand that family at all. They have one son who is cool, and who lives in the US. I don't think him and his wife would shun me, just cause they're pretty cool people. But if they did that'd be sad as well. Second cousins, i know them, but I don't really give a crap about them. My dad's parents...well they would be heartbroken. They're both holocaust surivors, and even though they are conservative (as in, not orthodox, not politically; so probably a little more open minded than orthodox nuts), they are really into the jewish thing as well. But they are both in pretty bad health...my grandmother has been on chemo for like 2 years now, and is not expected to live much longer, and my grandfather has been showing signs of serious dementia. Likely they will die without ever finding out.
That leaves me immediate family! My brother D will totally not shun me (and if he tried, I'd kick his ass). My brother E will probably go along with whatever my parents do.
Which just leaves my parents, which after reviewing my family, are the only ones I give a shit about (besides D). They are the big question mark. That's why we're having a big conversation this weekend about my fear of being shunned, and how i don't feel like I can tell them anything about my life, since I know they would disaprove/freak out, and I want to have a relationship with them where i don't have to keep secrets from them, but I don't think it's possible at this point. And how I feel like their love is conditional on me marrying a jew (or staying single) but I really don't see that happening at any point in the future. Even if I don't end up with B forever, chances are I won't end up with someone Jewish. So to me it seems that I'll inevitably be disowned, or I'll just be unhappy and not with someone I love. The problem is I can see myself settling for someone who is jewish and not perfect for me, just becuase I'm afraid of being disowned. I can't do that to myself, and I'm afraid if I don't take a stand on this issue now, I never will.
My parents don't know we're having this conversation yet. But I've been thinking about it for weeks. I might not tell them about B in particular this weekend, and if we move in together, I probably just won't tell them about that at all (they don't know I have a roommate, and he's lived in my apartment since June, so it probably wouldn't be too hard to hide). But I want to tell them about B eventually, and I feel having this conversation is important before that happens.
These are things that I've been thinking about pretty much constantly this week, and more so as it gets to Sunday when i'll be seeing my parents again. So there it is
Later today I am going to two purim seudahs; one at my parents, and one at my cousins. And am hoping to have that disowning convo as well.
I had the disowning conversation with my parents..my mom pretty much said she would have to disown me if i married someone not jewish, and that it would be my fault...but i think i managed to get both my parnets thinking when i asked why they valued religion over their own children, and explained how i feel like i can't have a close relationship with them because their love is conditional. Then 5 minutes later in the conversation my mom said she never said she would disown me (my mom is the expert at denying what she said 5 minutes later...like she said i should lose weight, and then 5 minutes later was all "I never said you were fat! I never said the word fat!" oh come on, it's the same thing), and my dad was all 'why are we talking about this, it's just a hypothetical." Also my mom compared marrying someone not jewish to being a murderer. But apparently being a lesbian would be worse than marrying someone not jewish, so by extension my parents think being a lesbian is worse than being a murderer.
So basically at the end of the convo it comes down to this; if i married someone not jewish my dad would try to convince me not to do it, because it is a bad idea (according to him), but he would not cut off contact. Also he would not see such a marriage as a real marriage, and he wouldn't come to the wedding. And he would hope the whole time that we got divorced. My mom may or may not cut off contact with me.
In the end I still feel as if I need to value my own happiness over my parent's, even if it means hurting them; I have to live my own life and not theirs.
So my dad sent me a letter via snail mail, that basically consisted of a 3 page (single spaced) treatise on why I should not marry someone who isn't jewish, complete with misleading statistics (i love when my dad tries to quote WRONG divorce statistics at me, when I freaking study divorce statistics for a living. I don't try to quote psychological ideas at him!). But really, besides the fake statistics and fake generalizable statements (according to my dad marrying someone who is of a different religion than you is the NUMBER ONE cause of divorce. um, sure it is) my favorite part of the letter was when he was all "you should look at whether you are ashamed of what you are doing as a guide to whether it is the right thing to do. for instance would you bring this man to meet your family? Would you even show him this letter? And if not, isn't that telling?" Yeah, the reason this part is my favorite is because immediately after i got this letter, I showed it to B. And of course I would introduce him to my family- if they were willing to meet him, which I'm pretty sure they're not. But I would/have introduced him to all my friends, who I am much closer with than i will ever be with my family again.
Also he sent me this book:
if you can't read that, it's called "Why marry Jewish? Suprising reasons for Jews to marry Jews" I think I might read it, just so I can write a point by point rebuttal to my dad. That, or use it to start a bonfire. I haven't decided yet.