Furtive, Part 2

You may have noticed that the word “furtive” has disappeared from my slugline.

I finally managed to tell my family.  My mom said, “I’m surprised you didn’t tell me this earlier.”

*sigh*  Well, I’m glad it went the good way of the two possibilities I thought of.

On a completely unrelated note, I believe you could (if you felt so inclined) sing “Adon Olam” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”

I’m not sure if that’s funny, offensive, blasphemous, or all of the above, but it does in fact demonstrate the wonders of common meter.  See, a degree in English is useful!

A Tiny Plea

For those of you celebrating the civil New Year tonight, please don’t drink and drive. I take this very personally, because 12 years ago, my sister, then 18, was hit almost head-on while driving, by a drunk driver with a list of priors as thick as an old NYNEX telephone book. He’d been in a bar, and the bartender had taken his keys away, but he had a spare set. I’m given to understand he got a nice taxpayer-funded vacation in a stone hotel somewhere out of the deal.

Her defensive driving probably saved her life, as she was able to swerve and avoid a full head-on collision. As it was, the crash put the engine block of my parents’ Chevy SUV on her feet.

She had serious injuries, went into hypermetabolism, and is still suffering the aftereffects today. She lost her last year of high school and had to do extensive adult ed to catch back up, due to a curriculum change. I’m very grateful our family didn’t have to bury her that year, but by the same token, she has never been the same since.

Please don’t drink and drive. The life you save may not even be your own. Thank you.

Note: And for the dati folks out there, the minor fast of the Tenth of Tevet, which commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, begins at 6:33AM tomorrow and ends at 5:26PM. Drink lots of water!

Christmanniversakkah…pant pant pant…

Thank G-d that’s over.

I’m still nominally doing Christmas things because I’m still furtive for the moment (that’s about to change soon, B”H, more later) and it’s a matter of shalom habayit right now. I don’t need to be brogez with the folks any sooner than I have to be. (It won’t be the first, or last, time.)

Christmas Eve (“Erev Xmas”) I went to a friend’s house for a very subdued party, which was nice, even if one of the attendees was recovering from food poisoning and another one was just feeling out of sorts and the rest of us were exhausted. (I did almost all my Christmas shopping — except for wrapping, the only part I truly enjoy — in two days, Monday and Tuesday. Lots of running around.)

It was also my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary on the 24th. They claim that it was the only time they could both get off work and they could get a hall; I think at least part of it is that my mother thought a Christmas wedding would be romantic, since she is about the World’s Biggest Christmas Freak. (This is where I see some friction coming in.) I didn’t do anything with them because they don’t really do anything with family outside of the big milestone anniversaries anymore. Which reminds me, I’d better become employed soon and start putting away a pot of money, because Guess Who is probably going to have to organise the 50th anniversary party. If you said, “You are, Sara-Elisheva!”, you’d be right!

I also observed Hanukkah as best as I was able, given that I once again couldn’t find the skinny candles that fit in my hanukiyah and I don’t have oil pots for it, so I had to improvise. I will either replace the thing or get oil pots for it for next year. Doubtless I’ll be in Toronto between now and then, and I can make it to a Judaica store. I love Hanukkah and what it represents, although less the miracle aspect of it than the “let Jews be Jews” aspect. (Apparently, given some of my hate mail, that’s a controversial position in some quarters.)

And on Boxing Day, I spent most of the day either sleeping or frantically prepping for Shabbat. And then it was Shabbat.

Shabbat Recap to come, but that’s quite enough for now.

Shabbats Recap — Urfh

Nothing much to say about these two Shabbats, except that I didn’t make it to shul either this week or last week. Bleah. I have wanted to go, too, because I want to nail down the rav about starting to study, since I now have all this free time (*mutter grump*).

I am enjoying Hanukkah, though. I always do. I’ve been ecumenical about holidays since about forever, and while I do agree that if you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, and/or you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t celebrate Hanukkah (personally, I’d like to decommision the Great Commission), given that it’s specifically about the freedom of Jews to be Jews, I mostly do it for shalom habayit anyway, and have for years. (Can you really call someone who thinks there was no such person as the historical Jesus a “Christian,” no matter where or how they grew up?) Back when I was living in T.O., I always made a point of going down to the now-sadly-almost-defunct Little India (Coxwell and Gerard Sts.) for the annual Diwali party, although I never have been any religion that celebrates it. But hey, it’s dark, it’s cold, let’s light some candles and eat some sweet things and call it a party.

That brings up an important point: Do I buy more Christmas wrapping paper this year (I kind of need it, although I could likely make do with what I’ve got), and risk not needing it next year and having leftovers I don’t know what to do with, or do I wrap everything in two kinds of paper and hope for the best? (And deprive myself of some of the only fun I get out of the whole endeavour.)

Flying, Afterthought

In this post I talked about El Al being in the news for preferentially catering to the whims of Haredi male passengers over their female clientele, and the Haredi men in question cutting up cranky over being assigned seats next to women, causing flight delays (and probably massive headaches among flight crews).

What I neglected to mention in that post was that my dad is a retired commercial pilot, and he had an incident once that he told me about (there may have been others, but this is the one I know about) where a guy was disorderly and would not sit down and let the plane take off. My dad had a male flight attendant “escort” the fellow off the plane, and had law enforcement waiting at the gate to arrest him. These days, you can get in some pretty heavy trouble by carrying on like that on a commercial flight, at least in North America…

I recommend this approach to El Al. Maybe after the first few groups of tantrum-throwers find themselves being escorted away to have a little chat with airport security and/or the local police, the incidents would stop.

“Furtive”

I included the word “furtive” in my slugline because I haven’t told very many people of my plans to convert yet.  I want to be further along in the process (like actually proving that I have a chance to succeed) before I drop a bombshell that big.  The few people I’ve told are a good friend of mine who went through a religious conversion experience, a secular Jewish friend in Portland, and a few of my close religious Jewish friends in Israel.

I think some few of my friends and relatives won’t really be surprised, but my mother in particular might be hurt, especially at Christmastime.  My mother is the original Christmas freak.  I hate Christmas, have for many years.  (I have never identified as a Christian, even though my family are at least culturally Christians, and I don’t believe in a historical Jesus.)  I used to make a point of reading Harlan Ellison’s infamous “Fuck Xmas!” essay every year on Christmas Eve, just to give me the strength to get through.  The “holiday creep” of the last decade or so has been making me progressively more aggravated.

Even though my family is pretty small, Christmas is a big production Chez Parents de Sara-Elisheva.

I’m expecting a lot of behind-my-back talk about me in the family, but that’s not exactly news.

My sister will probably just chalk it up to my being inexplicably weird, which is how she basically thinks of me anyway, and might make some comments about why can’t I just be normal.

I haven’t told my boss yet, and while you’re probably thinking my religious life is really none of my boss’ business (and you’d be technically right), I work with a group based in Jerusalem, and I was hired to provide North American time zone coverage for my job role, and also to cover Jewish holidays.  (I like to tell people I’m the group’s shabbes goy.)  I can’t exactly do that if I’m not a goy anymore, can I?  (Of course, this job is indirectly responsible for convincing me to convert to Judaism, so I’m not sure whether I should appreciate the irony or the literary parallelism.)  I’m really not sure how that will impact my job.  I’m pretty sure they can’t fire me (although I’m not sure how protected I am if changing religions means I can’t fulfill some of the terms of my initial hire), and my performance ratings are good, but I’m nervous.  They don’t cover this stuff in those “Guides for the Would-Be Convert.”

I’m certain this will cause some rifts with my friends, particularly when I can’t (or won’t) join them for dinners out and Friday night movies anymore.

It’s already put a probably breaking strain on my relationship with my pseudoquasiboyfriend in England, but that was going to happen sooner or later anyway, as we’ve really grown apart in the last few years.  If anybody ever tries to tell you that you don’t change a lot in your middle thirties, don’t listen.

There are probably other ramifications I’m completely missing at this point, but…