Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On being a little bit Jewish...

I grew up with a Catholic mom and a Jewish dad - but neither of them really were religious.  We celebrated Chanukah and Christmas, we got books and chocolates for Easter and chocolate coins for Passover. We played Dradel and looked for Easter eggs.

We lit candles for eight nights and then put up a Christmas tree and decorated it.  It was a mish mash.

But when asked, I always say I'm Jewish.  Maybe it's the food, I'll take the latkes, the matzoh, and the challah any day!

Or maybe, it's just...something innate.  Sometimes I wish I was raised more religiously, that I had been Bat Mitzvah'd - but the truth is I love the way we were raised. I love how we took my parents favourite parts of Jewish Traditions (all the ones with the yummy food, celebrations of light or spring (respective of holidays, obviously), and of peace and acceptance) and ignored the rest. For example, as vegetarians, instead of a shank bone for Passover on our table, we've always used a (specific) piece of wood.

Now, Inspector Climate are planning our non-religious ceremony.  However, we included some of my favourite traditions - we will break a glass at the end of the ceremony, and we will break Challah to eat with our family during the ceremony (gluten free Challah? You betcha!) - even if it does mean getting crumbs in my hair!

We're considering doing a Ketubah - a Jewish marriage contract that binds us together in Jewish law.  And while I'm not devoted to the idea unless Inspector Climate is...I'm also quite smitten with it.

But - despite sounding Carrie Bradshaw-esque - when is adopting Jewish traditions when only...partly Jewish become offensive? If at all? I'd like to to think never, but at the same time...I don't want to offend anyone.

That being said...we're are going to make our Ketubah this weekend (I hope!), and I'm pretty excited about it.


15 comments:

  1. I don't think that there is anything wrong with adopting only certain parts of a religion - I see that as developing your own version of spirituality. As long as you don't spite the parts that you don't "accept" I think you're doing just fine!

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  2. I think that all religions are a bit flawed and that your spiritual relationship with God is what matters the most. If you enjoy these traditions, why not use them? I do not have a single Jewish member of my family but my two best friends were Jewish in middle school and I loved going to temple with them. I know several prayers in Hebrew and I love everything about the Jewish ceremonies. Does that make me a bad Christian? I don't think so. Acceptance and love are what Christianity means to me.

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  3. I don't think there's anything wrong with being any part of any religion. Unless we're talking about Scientology, in which case all of it is wrong.

    I like your plan of mix-n-match. It's the best of both worlds. You're an equal opportunity religion.

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  4. Is being a little bit Jewish like being a little bit pregnant?

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  5. I'm a big believer in the wedding being about the couple, so do whatever feels right for the two of you. Especially when you've talked about other things you've had to compromise on.

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  6. I don't think it's offensive at all. Most Jewish people I know (or people from any religious or cultural background) keep parts of their tradition and not others.

    I love that your family's Passover shank bone was/is a piece of wood. Does it resemble a shank bone or does it gave its own distinct shape?

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  7. I think you call yourself partly Jewish because of your hair. That's my story and I'm stickin' too it.

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  8. Your wedding is about you and you should do whatever makes YOU (and Inspector Climate) happy. :-)

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  9. I respect all faiths and think it's great that you can identify with something - I believe we all need to find our own path towards something spiritual :)

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  10. I really don't think there is anything wrong with adapting certain parts of any religion, I think it speaks more to the true values you hold anyway. Love that you sounded Carrie Bradshaw-ish. ;)

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  11. As a jew, I am not offended at all.

    I love that you continue to celebrate all the holidays of your childhood.

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  12. I don't know much about my ethnic background except that I have a mix of European ancestry. Recently in Chile, I had two people ask me if I was Jewish and I very well could be. I wonder how I could find out.

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  13. I think you should always do what works best for you and if that's what works then go for it! I say if you want to include it in the wedding then go for it!

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  14. In Judaism, you are considered jewish based on your mother's lineage - but I love that you identify with it anyway. You were exposed to both and able to make your own decision. I respect that. There are so few of us left, that no matter how you celebrate it - if you go weekly, only on high holidays or never - that doesn't mean you are any less of a jew. I personally love our traditions and values but struggle with the stories. Jonah and the whale? so doubtful. I am still proud to be jewish, even though I don't believe all the stories and that doesn't make me any less jewish. Mazel tov on your upcoming wedding. I personally love the ketubah, the glass breaking and the circling 7 times. Plus the Chuppahs are always so pretty!

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