Friday, December 24, 2010

My First Christmas Free Christmas!

Clearly I am a Jew By Choice...A Covert....

I have detailed many times my personal struggles and the complicated nature of this type of choice. Today is December 24th, and all is well, well for the most part. The main sticking point currently is in how to manage honoring one's parents/family and following one's heart, aka Judaism. This is clearly summed up in today and tomorrow.

Shabbat, December 25th 2010. I have decided that we (my husband and myself) will go to services and then drive to my parents home to honor them and be with them on their holiday. I can not figure out any other way that can hold both desires.

It is an odd feeling...this is basically my first almost totally Jewish Christmas. With the exception of visiting my parents, there has been no Christian/Christmas type activities on my part. The past three years had been difficult because of my daughter, who with my conversion lost Christmas, but now that she has gone on her own adventure, moving across the country, I have no pressure to have a tree etc.

Yet this odd feeling continues....I'm not regretting anything about my choice, it is just that old conundrum of very few Jewish memories and many many childhood christian ones. I keep asking my husband about his life experiences...his memories of December from his childhood... but then I kind-of feel like a memory vampire, taking his memories because I have none.

The energy about Christmas is all around me, despite living in a fairly Jewish area. You just can't hide from it. I work with children and families and Christmas talk has been happening for weeks. The music in my building has been Christmas themed for the entire month. My husband says he like Christmas carols, that they don't bother him. For me once again it is complicated, they are connected to memories, and childhood times of excitement and wonder waiting for Christmas and Santa. It is almost like I have to block the songs to keep from feeling odd at this time of year.

For those of you born Jewish this might be hard to understand. I just want to "feel Jewish." I want to not even have a thought about Christmas...yet right now it doesn't appear that I am close to that!

sooo Shabbat Shalom...and take a moment to consider the Jews By Choice you might know. Reach out to them at services, because they may need Jewish memories too!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I am in the process of conversion, and should go to the mikveh around Chanukah. I think you are taking a wrong approach to "feeling Jewish." There is certainly no need to repress your childhood memories of Christian holidays. It is part of your life, and it was a happy time. It's worth remembering. I understand the lack of Jewish memories, too, because I'm there. But you live in a predominantly Christian culture. You're going to hear Christmas carols, see trees, and remember your childhood. There is no way you can help it, short of becoming a hermit from late October to January. Your husband has the right idea. Enjoy the musicality of the carols, and the beauty of the trees. Remember Christmas past without guilt.

Dunking Rachael

Love, Faith and Life