(this is the second essay in a 3-part series “What this is all about”. You can find the first part here.)
If you read the “About Us” page, you know that we’re a pretty average midwestern (Jewish) family. We’re not ultra-orthodox. We’re not in the “orthodox” or “modern orthodox” camps either (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those, it’s just not us. It’s not where we came from and I don’t believe (at this moment) it’s where we’re headed).
But obviously, we don’t do nothing either.
We have a pretty kick-in-the-tuchas Friday night Shabbat tradition. We also go to one of the most laid back synagogues in town, which also features the best kiddush (luncheon), week after week, that you will find in our city.
More than any of that, though, what our family does (or tries to do) is actively engage with our Judaism. We try out new observances and traditions; or we visit with friends who do something we don’t. We talk about what we saw or tried. We talk about what we are currently doing and whether it is “working” for us. We talk about what we’d like to do (or what we think we’d NEVER do) – and why.
There have been various “instigators” at various points in our family history. At the start, it was just Pandora and I. Later on it was our daughters (H and I) who kept asking and pushing. As J and K came along, and everyone grew older, the questions and requests became more complex.
When people ask me when and why we started with kashrut, I say (in my best whiney kid voice) “J started it! It’s all his fault.”.
The other day H pointed out to me (as she is wont to do) that I’m all wrong. J didn’t start it all. SHE did. (insert fatherly LOL here). Of course, she’s right, to a point. H started what she started. When J came along, what H remembers starting, J just took as “the way things have always been”, and therefore felt compelled to push a little more (can you tell that H and J are similar personalities?).
I don’t see anything unique or magical about this. I have a handful of friends whose Jewish journey mirrors our own in one way or another. Nor do I see anything hypocritical in it. As I’ve blogged about before, a friend of mine accurately summarized the situation: “My whole life I ate sausage pizza. And then there was a day when I didn’t any more. I don’t let anyone (including myself) hold what I *did* against me as some invalidation of what I *do* now.”
Why are we keeping kosher now? Because kashrut is just another step in our journey. It became clear that it would be OUR next step. Some people get to it sooner, others later or never.
All I can say is hineni – Here I stand, right now, in this moment.