Sunday, September 16, 2007

Recent happenings

My rosh hashana dinner with B went awesomely...we had challah and honey, pasta + sweet and sour meatballs from my mom's recipe (which she always makes for jewish holidays) and i even managed to find some pomegranites, which was quite a production (B decided the best way to get the seeds out was to break apart the pomegranites in a giant pot of water...we got a bowl full of seeds that we enjoyed till they ran out yesterday, but it was a pretty messy ordeal. But man, those seeds are awesome! Almost worth going through that again a few more times during pomegranite season).

Talked to both my parents on Erev rosh hashana. My dad tried to convince me I should go to his friend's synagogue downtown...he told me he had already arranged for me to get in for free (all i had to do was name drop him). And it was conservative so just my style! Or not, since I'm an atheist, not conservative. Then my friend/officemate tried to convince me to go to conservative services at my school with her and her (also not jewish) boyfriend. Skipped out on both of those, since they both started at 7, and I wanted to be at home in time to cook for dinner for me and B, which we had at 8.

Oddly a bunch of my not jewish friends have been talking about how they went to rosh hashana dinners at their friend's houses. It's weird how some of my friends who arn't jewish are more plugged into the jewish community than I am...

Also on tuesday while talking to my mother I gave her a list of around 15 recipes I'd like her to send over, and she said she would photocopy them and send them over next week (which I guess is this week). I told her I wanted them so that I can make new and interesting foods for holiday potlucks. That is a complete lie. Really, I'm afraid that if I marry B, my parents will cut me off, so I'm trying to get the stuff I'd my mom's recipes...before that happens. Also, you never know what's going to happen even if they don't cut me off. I would have loved to have gotten my grandmother's rugeluch recipe before she died, but didn't even think of that until it was too late.

In other interesting parent/jew news, it seems my complete and total atheism has opened up some doors for my younger brother. My brother is not religious either, which my parents know about, but which they never have really talked about...he pretends to be religious while he is at home, and they pretend they don't know that all shabbas long he is watching movies on his computer in his room. He lives with them, so is a lot less open than I am about not following much. Also, he is going to this academy thing this semester to train to be in law enforcement. The academy runs all day long, and he lives there during the week. Initially he was planning on going to my house or a friend's house on weekends, since there would be no way he could get back to my parents house before shabbas started. But my father has decided that "some shabbas is better than no shabbas at all" and that my brother is allowed to come over after shabbas has started. It seems he's admitted defeat in getting all his children to be orthodox, but is trying to get all of us to have some connection to my brother can come home after shabbas, and he's trying to get me to go to conservative services.

Since i'm talking about all my family here with no real rhyme or reason, i just found out my other brother, who is doing his post-high school year in israel, was forced to shave his beard off by the rabbi at his school. I thought this was really weird at first, especially given that most rabbis I know have beards. But if you look at it from a cultish/brain washing perspective it makes making everyone at the yeshiva look the same and remove the parts of themselves (literally the parts of themselves in this case) that do not conform, you start breaking down their sense of individual identity. Which makes it a lot easier to impose the identity you want them to have on them. And indeed, after less than a month there, my brother is now talking about how he is becoming more and more religious.

Which brings me to my final story in this entry. When I started dating A, my ex-fiance, who converted to judaism, my parents were freaking out becuase they thought he wasn't jewish enough for me. All that lip service about being cool with really is just lip service. My grandmother even told me she was praying for me to break up with him. My parents (of course) consulted their local rabbi on what they should do about it. His solution? My parents should send me to Israel for a year so that I would be away from him and get back my yiddishkeit. Of course I refused to go, which led to several months of arguing. It was then (around 17) that I stopped going to my parents shul entirely, becuase I was disgusted with that answer. The solution to me dating someone my parents didn't like was to send me off to a foreign country to get brainwashed for a year? Right.


  1. Wish I hadn't gone to my parents' for RH dinner. Sounds like you had a great time. :-) I love pomegranate.

  2. Once again though the failure seems to be with your parents, they didnt like him as he is a convert, well thats pretty anti halachik,
    I would say that it seems to me that your bitter attitude toward religion, and well your current beliefs are so heavily affected by your parents attitudes and styles not necessarily reflect that of the orthodox community at large, but due to the fact that they are jerks....

  3. My parents (of course) consulted their local rabbi on what they should do about it. His solution? My parents should send me to Israel for a year so that I would be away from him and get back my yiddishkeit.

    My folks tried this approach with my brother (the black sheep in our family). It should come as no surprise that after spending a year in Israel he still liked to smoke pot. What is surprising is that people still believe that "Israel is Magic!" and any problems you might have had before you go there will be washed away by spending a year there.

  4. Thanks for your posts about the issue of being intently connected to your Jewish identity and at the same time removed from belief. It is so nice to see others acknowledge their truths and try to reconcile them with what makes sense to them. I had no idea there were so many bloggers out there dealing with these same questions that I've been trying to come to terms with over the High Holidays.


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