Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not filler, but Filling: part II

Matthue of Jewschool is totally into the Chicago Plan. CJ is not.

Most amusing search terms that have lead to this blog? T. That is it, just the letter t. I am not entirely sure how that works. A close second is "reconstructionist get halakha." Now that I read it, I realize that they were probably talking about a get, or Jewish divorce document, which isn't funny at all.

My roommates and I have tested some latke recipes, and the favorite (by far) has been Grandma H's (OB"M). So, thanks Aunt L, they worked out really well and were amazingly easy.

Last, but not least, my parents are coming to my apartment for Shabbat dinner. This is a cause for excitement not only because they are bringing pickled okra, and a chanukiah, but also because I love my parents. Here is the issue though: my parents aren't staying with me, or even in the city. You see, my parents aren't shomer shabbat. They keep a strictly kosher home, raised three kids with good Jewish content, but they drive to shul. It's that but that gets me.

As much as I am thrilled to see them, I dread explaining, that yes, they are coming for dinner, but no, they aren't staying in the city. There is a moment of incomprehension before I see the understanding dawn in someone's eyes. And then the obligatory "oh, right, sorry." Sorry? So they aren't shomer shabbes. So what? I'm shomer shabbes. I'm not embarassed of them, they made their choices, and raised me so that I can make mine. Then I feel like I have to make excuses for them, oh, they live too far from shul, it isn't financially viable for them to move closer, etc, etc.

The worst part, though, is the follow-up. Now people know that I am more observant than my parents (but honestly, in this generation of Modern Orthodox people, who isn't?), and they begin to make assumptions. They say things like "it must be so hard" when I go home for holidays. Yeah, not going to shul sucks, but so does not seeing your family. I am constantly put in the position to defend my family's way of life (which I no longer share), their education (well, do they know about shabbes?), their choices, and our relationship. People assume that I am BT (baal tshuva, one who has returned) because I'm more observant than my parents, but really, is my sabbath observance that far from girls who cover their hair, and observe the laws of family purity that their mothers' eschewed?

And in case you were going to ask, they don't f*ing roll on shabbes.


Anonymous said...

I hate the BT term because it implies that you once were lost or away from Judaism and now you've "returned." What about those of us who just became gradually more observant than our parents? There should be a special term for that. Let's make one up.

AnnieGetYour said...

Curlygirl- I definitely agree, although a term makes it seem like my/our path isn't the normative, which I kind of think that it is. Many people in our generation are more observant than our parents, why can't it just be accepted, instead of, my different observance is more dramatic than yours?

Anonymous said...


As a non-religious person, I find it fascinating when a child (belonging to any faith) is more observant than his or her parents. It makes me question two assumptions of my assumptions:

1) That children are brainwashed by their parents to conform to a certain religion. The fact that you are more religious than your parents certainly suggests that you chose Judaism to some extent.

2) That religion is becoming increasingly obsolete and will eventually vanish from technologically advanced societies. If enough people maintain or increase the level of observance that their parents had, this will not be the case.

For the record, I was raised in a not-so-strict Episcopalian household. Both of my parents believed in God. If I wanted children (I don't), I would raise them as agnostics and strongly discourage, but not prohibit, them from joining a religion.

Annie, I am very curious as to why you decided to be more observant than your parents. Don't elaborate on this point if you don't want to, but if you did, I'd be very interested.


Anonymous said...

*Should be "two of my assumptions."