Thursday, April 1, 2010
The G-d Squad
As I had suspected, my status as an Israeli would cause some conflict in my parents' house, where they (like lots of other Jews) have made a notable swerve to the right. We had discussed the fact that as an Israel, I would not be keeping two days of official chag and would not be attending two complete seders for Pessach. My mother even requested that I come to shul the second day in any case, to show off the baby.
But when I did arrive with the stroller and Raphaela after our walk, I was apparently not dressed appropriately enough and my mother's face noticeably winged when I entered the room. I later got the speech about how I disrespected a holy place and the people there, and how I would have dressed more appropriately if I had visited a church or a mosque than I did for her synagogue.
It distresses me that the word "goy" (meaning gentile) was bandied about almost as a curse word, and I replied that all of her friends there, whose opinions count for so much, know that it was not my holiday and they were quite affectionate and warm toward me and the baby, regardless of my clothing. "I am an Israeli, not a goy." But maybe in this case they are almost the same thing.
With my Ultra-Orthodox sister and her brood arriving today, the atmosphere will become super-charged with religious zealotry, and so I will have to hope that the weather improves enough for me to take Raphaela on lots of walks. The pinnacle of parenthood as well, my mother has advanced the theory that pacifier use (which my sister's kids do prodigiously) increases intelligence; and so I will also have to make a stand defending my parenting choices.