Gay peeps can get married, Gilad Shalit can’t.

I’m trying to enjoy the excitement I feel over New York State’s legalizing gay marriage, giving some of my friends a chance at an alternative-alternative lifestyle, while simultaneously trying to work out the torment I feel over the fact it’s now been a way-too-long five years since 18-year-old beginner soldier Gilad Shalit was taken captive during non-’war’time, and denied Red Cross visits.

 

You don’t know who you are…

Today is the day that kind of floats by every once in a while. Maybe once a year. I realize, out of nowhere, people from the past who I suddenly miss terribly.

You don’t know who you are; and if you did, you’d be pretty surprised. A professor who I adored and looked up to… A friend from very early childhood who I haven’t seen or heard from in 20 years… An elementary school teacher who made a huge difference…

It’s hard to consider all the places I’ve been, all the people I’ve been…

Religious views: Lazy.

I’m in a new place. It’s a place I’ve heard about, but never dwelled within. A place in time. I’ve known it’s been creeping up, have been expecting its tap on the shoulder… and here it is, plunked down and landed at my feet.

Not enough is spoken about this place. I wish more people would engage in conversation about it.

It’s like this:

I grew up ‘baal tshuva.’ That term has been impacting my life since I was in first grade and started to realize the difference between my family and other families at the ‘yeshiva’ (modern orthodox day school) I went to. That term haunted me as a child. I felt less-than, I felt unkosher. I felt, always, that I didn’t belong in the world I lived in.

There are milestones of traumas I went through as a kid in the modern orthodox ‘yeshiva’ system. Being called out in the hallway between classes, by the so-called rabbi principal of my elementary school. Lying about just how we got to shul every week, even as we lived 5 miles away from it. Getting caught not knowing certain terms, not having embedded rituals. In high school, never being ‘religious’ enough for my first love.

Attempting compensation, after compensation, after compensation.

Which is why, somewhere during- and post-college, this became my life ‘philosophy,’ (as Facebook gently puts it):

And it was then, the halachic nod-off post-institutional life, that I entered the next place – the placeless place. The lazy Jew who left home to see the world. Who moved to Israel to be more Jewish, and realized a country filled with Jews can be the most secular place you’ve ever been. The lazy Jew who wants to do more, but has spent too much time picking apart rituals that seem like they just shouldn’t be. The self-labeled community Jew, who, perhaps sloppily, observes the Big Three in private no-matter-what.

And now… Aside from this being an expose on my ‘religious state’ – it’s about my son. And pretty soon, my daughter.

I thought I had ’til age three. That was the magic number; that’s when I’d have choices to make. That’s when we could stop relaxing and start ‘educating’ and ‘leading by example.’ Somehow, our asses would get kicked into gear. Somehow, I’d have the balls to unlazy my ‘religious view.’

But it’s happening for us before three. Last Shabbat, my son asked to wear a kippah. And to humor him, I put it on his head. And then he insisted on wearing it to shul. I figured by the time I met up with him and his father there, it’d have fallen off. But it didn’t. Then he wore it through lunch. Then he wore it all day. Then he went to bed with it on.

And then, it hit me. I’m in a new place now. I’m in the zone. It’s happening, and I have choices to make.

For a kid this small, there’s no lazy or unlazy. There’s doing and not doing. Religious or not religious. Tradition A or tradition B. They don’t even realize until later what the other side is, what they’re missing by being one way.

Birthing my kids, I’m learning, was the easy part. Educating them – I imagine – will be a lot easier when I do the hardest thing I have to do: decide what kind of life I want to show them.

 

 

That’s a long diaper-change.

“Ok, Beebs, let’s stop here on the side of this shop and get that diaper changed… Man, that’s a big one! Lady you are not…”

…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

“Oh, the bomb siren drill. Weird that it’s a siren and we don’t have to stand at attention, eh, Beebs? Actually, no one is even close to taking this seriously… Check out those soldiers strolling along Emek Refaim like it’s all totally normal… Where are the wipes?”

…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

“Did I not bring enough diapers? Oh, there we go. Yeah, there’s actually no one on the street so maybe people just went inside places. There’s a bus, floating by…”

…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

“Beebs, what would I do if it was real? Am I the kind of mother who would take you and run? Go anywhere but here? Is that right? Am I the kind of mother who would stay? And hug you in bomb shelters till it was over?”

…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…

“I dunno, girl. I really don’t know. That’s a lot of poo, and the siren is still going and I’m still cleaning you up. We suck at this, Beebs.”

…eeeeeeeeeeeee.

“And, boooom.”

Teaching your elders.

As the world turns…

When I was growing up, the thing was this: my parents’ generation decided to send their kids to Jewish day schools, to give them an education they never had as children of immigrants who wanted to forget being Jewish. So we went to school, came home, taught our parents kiddush on Friday nights, and reminded our grandparents of what they had before the world turned their backs on them in Germany and beyond.

And here we are today. My generation is moving to Israel to give their kids even more of what our parents didn’t have: that Israeli aspect of the education. Speaking Hebrew, the mother tongue of the mother land. Singing songs that are more than tinged with Zionism; they are Zionism.

And so it goes, the path continues. I have no idea where it will end up.

However, it sure is fascinating watching my two-year-old son teaching my parents Hebrew. Or rather, reminding them of the the minimal Hebrew they learned at Sunday school, way back when.

And it sure is gratifying seeing my parents, at this stage of life, taking on yet another new kind of education, taught by their progeny, a continuation of the road they started when they sent me to Jewish day school.

Koala update: Lil Mr. Independent.

I love how, when we try to do something for you, you say - declare – your name in protest, and then do it yourself.

I love how when we’re trying to rush you, and scoop you up to carry you upstairs, and you just aren’t having it, you turn around, go back down, and come back up.

I love how you pick up your lil pink camera and call us together for a ‘pho-to,’ and if one of us isn’t smiling or our arms aren’t wrapped around each other, you sharply correct us.