Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Values

A very famous comedian -- it might have been one of my Jewish friends hoping to become a very famous comedian -- once said of Judaism, "I'm in it for the holidays."

Lord knows we certainly have enough of them.

Last week was Tu B'shvat, the Jewish Arbor Day. Next week is Ched G'mash, commemorating the invention of guilt. And in just two short months, we will be in the thick of Passover.

Now I happen to love Passover. Not that I believe any of the particulars of the Exodus story. In fact many of the details simply do not jive with Jewish culture as I know it.

Take the Matzo myth and the story of the unleavened bread for instance. I've been around far too many aunts, bubbies and nanas to know that no Jewish woman is going to take something out of the oven early, particularly on the advice of a Jewish Man.

Furthermore there is this whole canard about painting the doorways with the blood of gentile children(as seen in the picture above). Except for the doctors and dentists, most of us are incredibly squeamish and tend to shy away from blood.

Moreover, Jews don't paint. We hire Mexicans or Koreans to do that.

And then finally there's the 40 years of wandering around the desert. I am a direct descendant of a NYC cab driver, I spent a good part of my childhood on the Long Island Expressway and have actually driven the streets of lower Manhattan so I can tell you first hand, Jews don't wander. Never have, never will. We want to get to where we're going and if possible we want to get there 5 minutes before the next guy just to get a better seat.

If somewhere in the Hagadah someone said to Moses, "What's with all this fakakta wandering? My feet are killing me." It might lend the story a little more credibility. Until then, I'm not buying any of it.

But I digress.

The reason why I love Passover, and for that matter the other very frequent Hebraic holidays, is more personal. It's more about my daughters, who you may or may not know attend Catholic High School. With the monthly masses and the daily religion classes, they are subjected to quite a bit of Jesui-osity. And that's fine. As Gandhi said, "I like your Jesus, it's your Christians I have a problem with."

So the holidays are a welcome a respite. And even though we tend to treat them with irreverence and a healthy helping of self-deprecation, the holidays are an opportunity for my daughters to reconnect with their faith. And indeed fills them with great anticipation.

Or as my youngest daughter so eloquently put it, "it's a chance for me to get my Jew back on."

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