This coming Shabbat we are having new friends over for dinner. I am so excited. However, as a former psychology academic, I feel compelled to explore why I am so excited.
Here are the reasons that jump into my spinning brain (everything to do with religion makes my head spin):
:: We don’t have many Jewish friends, it is so nice to be getting to know a family that has Judaism as a part of their lives;
:: They are pretty cool – my kids adore their kids which is great for many reasons, not least of which is that their kids seem to be much better behaved than mine. Let the peer pressure begin! and…
:: I want to learn more about being a reform Jewish woman and frankly, I can’t think of anyone more knowledgeable.
Aside from these reasons I just like them and find myself really looking forward to sharing Shabbat dinner with them. It’s surprising to realize this but it seems Shabbat is important to me. Being Jewish is important to me. Who knew??? Not I, that’s for sure. I never doubted that Judaism was a part of my life and even after I discovered my amazing birth family, my being Jewish never came into question. What did surprise me was how strongly I would rely on my Jewish spirit to help me through this experience.
A woman I admire greatly had an interesting observation – she pointed out that while I have abandoned almost all parts of my adoptive family and life, I have held on to my Jewish identity. As children, we learn to understand the world by watching our parents, obviously. I am no different and as I grapple with this experience, I am naturally using the taught perspective from my youth. What is striking is that I am also judging all four of my parents according the Jewish morals I was taught. Sadly, it is the Jews who are failing.
So here I am, a Jewish woman coming closer to her Jewish spirit and soul. My Jewish spirit and soul are helping me see the beauty of my Muslim Pakistani family while at the same time helping me come to terms with the horror of the acts of my Jewish parents. Curious.
Back to Shabbat. Shabbat is a day of rest. A day to reflect on the divine in the world and the peace in our hearts. A peace that I believe is still possible in the world. How blessed am I that we get to bring in next week’s Shabbat holiday with new friends? Quite blessed indeed.
All philosophizing aside, I hope they like my cooking!