I sometimes write about the beginnings of this Jewish life I am trying to live. Today a piece I wrote this summer appears in the Orthodox Union magazine - called Shabbat Shalom. It's about the day I made our home kosher. It's pretty straightforward but for anyone who wonders how I can write about Patti Smith and observant Judaism in the same post, it will be interesting. Actually, I'm pretty proud of it. Here's a preview - then you can go read it.
Today I kashered my kitchen. Well, actually – a lovely Tunisian friend named Riadh and his catering team did the work. I just designated things milk, meat and parve and called the Rabbi to ask if I had to get rid of all my knives and whether you had to polish the silver before kashering it (you don’t.) Strange things happened. The idea of giving up my mother’s bread knife had me close to tears. The idea of never using my blue mugs (now dairy) when I served dinner on our white china (meat) made me angry. Was I sure – I asked myself – that this was the right decision – a commitment that, once made, I would honor as a matter of principle as well as faith
I wrote it because I was asked to - but it was valuable to have to describe something about our Orthodox life in concrete terms. There's a 12 step saying "fake it til you make it." I've discovered that it works well in a quest for faith too. When Woody Allen said 90% (or 85 or 95 depending on the source) of life is just showing up." he was right. If you're not there trying you aren't going to get very far.
So take a look and let me know what you think. This has been an important passage for me and it flies in the face of the secular nature of the political and social circles in which I've always lived. So many people are moving in the other direction - Europe - always a place I felt supremely comfortable - is mostly secular now. So is the progressive universe in which I spend most of my time. Even so I feel a sense of peace that I haven't known before as I make my way slowly toward more and more observant living. Probably part of the reason is that no one is pushing me -- my husband and I determine the speed and nature of our evolution and it's often not at precisely the same rate. But we're getting where we need to go and learning to accept the discipline. Our children have come, I think, to at least respect what we're doing; at the same time, we need to remember to respect their right to decide their own spiritual lives even if the decision differs radically from ours.
That's enough. Read the piece and comment here, will you? I want to know how it looks from the outside.