Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Year of Living Jewishly: Passover
A year has come and gone since I took that fateful dunk. so much has transpired and I feel there is yet so much to experience. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend the vastness of it all. This passover Holiday has proven to be a microcosm of the joys and sorrows, ups and downs I have been experiencing on this journey.
I managed to clean, and prepare. I had to make many compromises in my attempts to up my level of observance. I made a Seder that despite my vastly underestimating the amount of work and time it would take came out as I had envisioned. The preparations for the celebration felt like a surreal version of camping. I was in my home cooking but without most of the tools/pans/utensils I was accustom to. I was relieved that everyone appeared to enjoy it despite the back to basics nature of the preparations . I loved being able to fully embrace the holiday in the way women throughout the ages have; expressing themselves through the art of food and hospitality.
I also experienced some negative emotions in the form of private discord with my daughter (see the post entitled December Dilemma) My whole hearted embracing of the full household passover experience: covered counters, different dishes, packed up food and tied off cabinets etc.... caused some discord between us. After a few days I managed to find my courage to let her know how I was feeling. She wasn't understanding me, and I was only experiencing rejection and anger from her. Our communication had stalled, each fearful of questioning too much or hurting the other with our unspoken fears. My daughter fearing that I was someone she didn't know, "playing Jewish" and me fearful I would somehow alienate her and ultimately push her away.
It is the classic convert dilemma. How to embrace the new life but how to hold and support those loved ones who are not on the journey with you. This story also has the added difficulties of divorce and remarriage and and how we all are relating in this new family paradigm.
Then there have been the mundane revelations.
Passover is hard! Being Jewish is hard!
It isn't the not eating of bread etc, but the eating of only kosher for passover foods that has caused some strife in the household. My poor husband has had some of the scariest concoctions for dinner! In the past I had been a vegetarian, and that is what we have been mostly eating, but without beans the protein part has been difficult!
It is only Tuesday, and I must admit I need this holiday to be done. I want my kitchen and house back to the way is usually is. I am seriously outside of my comfort zone. I want to buy coffee out!....OK I know I am whining.....but I am sure you understand.
Despite my tantrums I do see the larger picture of it all.
I do realize that perhaps it is this very feeling of being outside of the comfort zone that the holiday is meant to manifest. To, in some small way, feel what it is like to embark on a journey of exile. For me a metaphoric journey of exile that has been manifested through immense change and concretely a journey of exile through a new world of day in and day out mitzvot.
They wandered in the desert for 40 years, it is my aspiration that I find my path a lot sooner.
Posted by Karen Zampa Katz at 1:48 PM