Really interesting blog post. Food for thought.
Currently reading Living a Jewish Life which is co-authored by Anita Diamante (of Red Tent fame) and.... I Don't Have The Book In The House It's In My Car And I Can't Remember the Other Author. Helpful, explains the whys and hows of some things though I am pretty sure that it's just an introductory taste and most of this stuff gets more meaningful with study and actually living. Because honestly, I don't live much of a Jewish life at all. Now, I *like* the Diamante book because they talk about liberal Judaism being supportive of choosing which aspects of Jewish life you want to keep and which you want to not keep (such as, my understanding of being a liberal reform Jew means that living by the J-calendar, lighting candles on Sabbath but keeping Xmas and having bacon double cheese burgers are not mutually exclusive acts) which brings me to this whole kettle of, I almost kinda feel like if I don't do it all then I'm just a poser and what's the point? But ya know, WOW that is a lot of stuff to do and it'd be a huge life change and I don't know where it would lead me and THAT is terrifying, so I almost don't really want to do ANY of it because at least I know what to expect right now.
Because, I like cheeseburgers. I like Christmas trees. I like... a lot of stuff. And I am an intrinsically lazy person. It seems like part of Jewish observance is not allowing yourself to be a lazy person as far as keeping the rules and doing the mitzvot(?) ie, charity, lighting candles, eating kosher, all the STUFF. Seems like the STUFF, which is a HUGE pain in the ass and keeps you from participating in a lot of mainstream society things (like movies on Friday night, bacon cheeseburgers, etc.) is also at the heart of having a meaningful Jewish practice, that the stuff is part of the life. So you have to do it and you can't be lazy and just, suck it up little buckajew and DO WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT.
The book says, no, not so much, you can pick and choose. Hey, a book that says I can still be lazy and eat cheeseburgers but be a good Jew? Bring that on. Yeah. But maybe not so much and maybe it doesn't quite feel right to me, maybe it feels a little half assed and I don't know how to reconcile being ME, Rainy, with the boots and lifestyle I lead now, with being a good Jew living a meaningful, observant Jewish life. Maybe it feels like cheating to do both. Problem is, I LIKE me and my life. I don't want to change into someone else and it seems as if a lot of these observances would change things dramatically.
Well, so I'm thinking a lot and I am still... pondering and wondering how it all applies to me. And I know that when I do make choices and changes, they're going to be the right ones and they'll mean something. I have time. I'm sure that G-d gets that it's a process, right?
Next time someone asks me my religion, I am just going to tell them that I am Confused.
We saw some Hasids (Hasidim? Chasids? Chasidim?) with the very long coats and fur hats a while ago over on La Brea near Little Israel, walking down the street on their way to Temple and my little girl pointed and yelled, "Mommy, look! Amish!" because she didn't know what they were and "black clothing/hats" equates to Amish in her head.
Yeah. It's like that around here. We're all Confused.