Tuesday, April 11, 2006

passing over

this is the second year in a row in which i've done absolutely nada about passover.

i used to keep kosher for the whole week. i really loved it. i loved the seder, loved having guests for the seder, etc. but since quitting the congregation last year, i haven't felt like observing much of the holidays. sometimes on a friday i'll get a challah and light candles. my son really enjoys that, and like all little kids he loves hannukah.

there is a reconstructionist congregation in arlington, which is about 25 miles away. it is not possible to get there peacefully on a friday night. i have gone to a saturday shabbat service with kids' accomodation once, and would probably think about becoming more active there if we were staying in the area. there are a number of people there who have been to elat chayyim. this makes it feel somewhat safe, as their practice of judaism is about what i've come to as well.

but i am still so wary after ner shalom. i felt really, really burned. part of me wants to explore the congregations in portland - and there are a number of liberal ones, including a renewal group, reconstructionist, and i met someone in the reform one who said they were quite liberal too. mostly, i want my kid to have some sense of jewish identity, although i will also say that's something i felt that he would need as a defense mechanism when living here.

i did notice that the neighborhood (portland) grocery store has a kosher section, but did not have passover matzot. i asked a store employee if they were on display somewhere else, and he said no, and i explained that most of the types of matzot they had weren't useable for passover. he said it was something handled corporately and not by individual stores. i had flashbacks of south carolina, when congregation members would send out matzot-sighting emails. however, portland has several congregations of every stripe, two jewish day schools, and frankly we felt very accepted as a family - and since we're racially mixed, that can be a very strong reaction.

while stuck in the minneapolis airport overnight on the way home, basil mentioned that he had never felt so uncomfortable in the vibes people were giving us. he felt it was worse that south carolina, although i suspect that was spurred from being protective of boo as well. i just was very smoochy on him, both because we were both stressed and because it was fun to tweak the sensibilities of white midwestern assholes cluching 'i'm a supersuper christian' books while passing judgement on us. for comparison, total strangers would approach us in portland to tell us that our family is beautiful. the assumption i usually get here is that i'm a single parent, my kid is hispanic, and that i might have gotten knocked up but no way would i have married one of _those_ people. i've watched people talk to me in english and then turn and talk to my kid in spanish, and even people at my former congregation thought i wasn't married.

so maybe.... i'm getting out of the egypt/virginian desert, just a few weeks late.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I'm surprised you felt uncomfortable in the Minneapolis airport -- the twins cities are very, very liberal; more so than Chicago, really. They don't call it "Moscow on the Mississippi" for nothing. On the other hand, the airport is not the same thing as the city.