JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Monday, April 09, 2007

An Easter Egg Hunt

So, yesterday Jerry and I drove down to meet his parents and brother at the Easter celebration at some fancy schmancy house of a friend of the family. It took us over 2 hours to get there. His family was somewhat coldish. I think it might be because they've met a lot of girlfriends over the years. Jerry said that I'm the first in about a year or so or something....clearly there are lots. His brother was being very formally host-like (it was his friend hosting the party).

The whole thing was wierdish because its Passover right, and here's the whole dinner of ham and bread and stuff with bread in it and lots of dairy, which I can't eat because the Jews tend to be lactose I'm feeling very out of place. The only conversation I can seem to get going is - so you're a Jew and you have funny eating habits.

We're not sitting down to eat until 4pm (even though we were to arrive at 12:30 and I hadn't eaten since breakfast). So, I end up getting a little dizzy and light headed, especially since I had a mimosa.

After we eat, several people ask me if I want dessert - which of course I can't eat because its a bunch of cakes and pies, not kosher for Passover. We are forced inside while the hostest prepares for the Easter egg hunt, which I'm told that we ALL have to participant in. I'm mortified - I just gave my sister a hard time for taking her kids to an Easter egg hunt. This is where I draw the line - I'll come meet everyone and not have a lot to eat BUT I WILL NOT hunt for Easter eggs.

So, I probably not so calmly ask Jerry for the keys to the car so I can get my phone and make a call, which I say is to my aunt who were going to stop by and see later, although I call Sanchi because I hope to be able to have a long conversation outside and be able to miss the "festivities."

Jerry's mom was sweet and walked us out and hugged me twice and said she hopes to see me again. But, his Dad was watching tv in a back room and could hardly be found. Honestly, this is not the family welcome that I'm used to. Jewish families tend to LOVE me.

I can't decide if I was over-reacting to the Easter egg hunt or if I should just be completely open with Jerry that there's no way that I feel comfortable participating in anything remotely Christian. That's just me. (Note: I would be much more comfortable with Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.) If we ever have kids, I don't think that I'd want them to do that either. I'm Jewish and any future off-spring also Jewish. But Jerry is a great guy and made such an effort to try to help me fit in and we have a great time together, so do I need to be more open minded about the whole shtick?

Sidenote: My aunt gave me a hard time about my Dad and not going to this summer's family reunion. Why did Dad have to put Mom in a home? Why can't I take my Mom to D.C. by myself for the reunion? Augh! Drove me freakin crazy. And of course, she looks much like and talks JUST like my grandmother which was kinda sad to see.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I' curious as to why you would feel more comfortable with non-christian customs.
You're ok with polygamy,arranged marriages,wrapping women in sacks from head to toe and locking them in the house, murdering women because they were raped etc. (Islamic tradition, still kept by many), or the custom of burning widows, making them outcasts and so on(Hindu), but Easter Egg hunting turns you off?
I don't get it.
Egg hunting sounds like fun. Do you know if the eggs are hard-boiled? Just asking.

Monday, April 09, 2007 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post but if you are dating a Christian then you should respect his beliefs, not deny them.
In a loving relationship this means that you have to give him the feeling that whatever he believesin , and his actions based on that belief (or tradition) are ok.
You just have to find out what it takes to make him feel that you accept him as he is, and see if you love him enough to do it.
Obviously the opposite applies - whenever he comes to your family.

Monday, April 09, 2007 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Karma said...

I think they were candy eggs.

Okay, I have to say that I think your comments about non-Christian customs are ethnocentric and kind of offensive. Most Muslims do not murder women because they were raped - this is a small percentage and generally taking place outside of the U.S.

But, I'm surprised and intrigued by your comments Joe because I know that you're religious. Would you have allowed yourself to date someone non-Jewish? Where do I draw the line now that I am dating someone Jewish - do I go to Church with him? Do I celebrate Christmas?

I feel like I'm not trying to deny his beliefs, but I don't want to have to deny my own beliefs. It isn't that I don't accept that HE is Catholic and celebrates Easter; I don't accept that I have to put away being Jewish and do so. You know what I'm saying?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comments were meant to point out that christianity today is actually a very tolerant religion, especially in relation to some other world religions, and especially if you are a feminist.
Anyway, i'm not religious - where did you get that? I'm just jewish.A secular believing jew.
That said, for me, love comes first.In other words, your personal salvation is more important than the survival of the group you belong to (family or religion or both).
Therefore, like I said, the way I see it is that in this situation you should satisfy first the demands of your relationship, the demands of love, and the rest comes later.
The question is really, what did he want from you in this situation? Did you discuss it beforehand?Perhaps you should, since this won't be the last time for you guys, at his or your place.
You draw the line with your feelings towards what he wants from you, what you feel about it, what the relationship means to you and so on and so on. It's a highly personal and complex decision i think.
Personally, I would not have dated a non-Jew, I'm just way too messed up as it is to deal with such an additional complication. But who knows? Maybe if I had spent my adulthood in the States such a thing would have happened. When I did live there i never concerned myself with the race, color or religion of my friends, male or female, who were indeed of all possible kinds. I could care less.
But if you are looking for intermarriage then in Israel it's much easier to meet and marry Jews.
(Hint hint)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gail Rae said...

Wow! The comments on this one are fascinating, especially since, as I was reading your post, Karma, I was thinking, Funny, I don't like Christian celebrations, either, and I was (supposedly) raised Christian! Actually, the Christianity to which I was first introduced was mild and fairly meaningless from a religious point of view; it was more an ethical and moral presentation than anything else; which was common of my generation of Christians.

That being said, though, I'm tending to find (perhaps it's my at-the-moment community) that, despite what jerusalem joe says, Christianity is, currently, in the U.S., becoming more disturbingly reactionary and less tolerant as time goes on, which scares the bejesus out of me. I've never been able to bring myself to believe in the need for divine salvation, on a personal or social level, anyway, and remain unconcerned about what may or may not happen to people after they're dead, so I've always identified myself as not being Christian, even though I am more familiar with Christian beliefs than those of any other religion (although my knowledge of Hinduism and Buddhism is gaining on my knowledge of Christianity). However, lately, I find myself being very careful about to whom I choose to mention the fact that I do not consider myself Christian.

As a sidebar, Easter Eggs, while primarily incorporated in Christianity now, are actually polytheistic, pagan symbology meant to celebrate fertility. They (and many other polytheistic traditions) were tacked onto Christianity in order to make it easier to convert members of polytheistic, naturalistic religions into Christianity.

Anyway, it's very interesting for me to contemplate how people react when religion enters into personal relationships. I'm not a very good source on this since, somehow, I've managed to carry on relationships with people who are more moved by philosophy than religion, but even that can create problems. One way I've found, though, to ameliorate difficulties is to consider that all gods and all religious rites are manifestations of prototypical beliefs about and reactions to various aspects of life...which is why I love to play around with "recognizing" and "paying deference to" all kinds of gods. My favorite and deepest romantic relationship was with a guy who had dedicated himself to "The Garbage Gods". That was pretty interesting!

Just from what you've said about Jerry, though, my guess is that, although I would be surprised if you did marry him, if you did and if the two of you had children, he would probably be amenable to raising them Jewish. I just get the sense (although I can't tell you from where I get it) that, of the two of you, he is less wedded to his religious upbringing that you are to yours and might even prefer a Judaic family context to a Christian family context.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gail Rae said...

Hi, Karma...although this isn't appropos of this post, it is a short response to your recently received response-to-response comment:
Why am I not surprised, Karma, at how many people, even at a support group for aging parents "didn't seem to want to have to get that involved"? It's emotionally tiring to contemplate this, so I think I'll stop, but, I want you to know, I appreciate this information. It confirms my own sad, informal observations. People like to smile as they notice the old being accompanied socially in stores, at parks, at events, with their caregivers, but when it comes to their own old relatives, well, that's another story...out of sight, out of mind...and that's what makes caregiving, for those of us who feel compelled to do it, so much more difficult than it could be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Karma said...

I don't know why I thought you were religious Joe....maybe its that you were looking to study at religious type places...I don't know...and yes, I get the hint about Israel. I always do well dating in Israel of course. But that's not in the cards right now.

Gail, you're the third person in two days to tell me something negative about marrying Jerry, which is very strange for me - no one's ever told me NOT to marry someone that I'm dating....perhaps because most of my relationships don't tend to last very long.

And yes, the way that most people take care of their parents is appauling. What will happen to someone like with no kids I don't even want to think about.

This post really sparked a lot of discussion; I appreciate that the oddness of the day was good for something. I think that Jerry just invited me because we spend almost all of our free time together and he invites me everywhere he goes. In fact, he's probably going to arrive over here pretty soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:31:00 PM  

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