It’s been a really crazy few weeks. The holidays always kind of stress me out. I feel like I need to constantly go out and have “fun”. I have no idea what “fun” is but I think it’s suppose to contain things that we did in ye oldie times, like ice skating on ponds and sleigh rides. I am terrified of ice skating on ponds and sleigh rides, it seems like a good way to injure or kill yourself. I also hate being cold. Actually Andy HATES being cold -hates it like poison. Davy doesn’t quite seem like a fan either. We have been taking long walks on our cold sunny days and they usually end up with my poor girl freezing her tiny Ethiopian ass off and screaming at me while squirming out of her hat, gloves, coat and stroller blanket. Good times, good times I say!
This year, Davy’s first holiday season with us, was kind of stressing me out. I mean I am a Christmas Jew, but will it totally confuse Davy? I know that now we have to pay more attention to Hanukah then we have in the past. Truly Hanukah is kind of lame. Menorahs, while pretty, somehow lack the allure of christmas lights.
However as a new mom, I am growing concerned about our Jewish identity- but still immensely skittish about organized religion. Is it enough to say to Davy- Im-a Jew your-a Jew, without anything to really back it up? I got a lot of my Jewish identity from my grandparents (Holocaust survivors), my parents and my community. For the record, I have always been a little uncomfortable with the Jewish community I grew up in; I felt like an outsider- still do. My religious/political beliefs (read that as Israel ambivalence) make me feel like an outcast. I couldn’t wait to get out of the town I was raised in. As an adult I view it differently and have more respect for West Bloomfield, Michigan and its place in the world. But it took me 25 years away from it to truly appreciate it.
Andy isn’t a Jew (though he’s a little Jewish – ha). He would say he was raised as nothing, meaning he was raised sort of half-assed-generic-southern Christian. He has no religious views, per se. He doesn’t even really care if we celebrate Christmas or Hanukah. He prefers to leave the religious angst to me. Thanks, honey.
I had a really great conversation with an old friend from high school about religion. She reminded me that showing Davy what being a Jew means doesn’t have to be that big of a deal. If I want to know the Jewish community I just need to dip my toe in where I feel comfortable. For example, we have been going to several indoor play parks in Church basements. Why not go to one at the JCC? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I signed us up for some Jewish books to be delivered to our house and we will take it from there.
My mom recently came over with a super excited gift for Davy. It is a menorah that celebrates the children of the world. On it there is a little Ethiopian flag and a statue of on Ethiopian boy in traditional clothes. It sums up our life pretty perfectly.
We are going to celebrate Hanukah AND Christmas every year. Our Jewish family will give her Hanukah gifts and our non-Jewish ones will give her Christmas gifts. We will also celebrate Genna, Ethiopian Christmas (in January) because it is also part of who we are as a family. We have a Christmas tree because I love them- and well let’s face it- its really pagan anyway.
When I grew up I was always told you had to be one thing – draw a line in the sand and say “this is it,” I am a Jew. My life is so much richer because I never quite bought that line of thought.
This year we are going to celebrate the holidays in the truly haphazard and random non-traditional Weisman/Beach way. In doing so we get to define the traditions that celebrate and the uniqueness that makes us a family.