Thursday, April 13, 2006

Passover 2006

We had 2 invites this year for the Seder. One with our messianic Jewish friends -the other with once-good-friends we first met when we moved here 9 years ago. We had been out of touch with them for about 5 years and poof - out of nowhere - they were back in our lives asking us to join them in a pot-luck seder with about 21 guests. My Trashy Daughters thumbed their noses up at this invite, preferring instead to be with their boyfriends' families, the engaged daughter was fully excused to be with her future family (let her get to know what her in-laws will be like during stressful holidays - MWAA ha ha!), except for my Good Daughter and Teenage Werewolf Son.

Thankfully there were many other ADHD type kids a bit older than my son for him to wreak havoc with at the seder table - and he felt at home. It was noisy and fun there. I brought my hand made matzah to the table and read from my Holistic Haggadah by Dr. Michael Kagan. It had alot of touchy-feely stuff to it. Like "feel the salt water as tears running down your cheeks. Free your inner Mitzrayim (Egypt). In Buddhism attachments are the cause of suffering, in Judaism, they are the cause of enslavement..., etc." And nearly everyone oohh'd and ahh'd at this new Jewish Renewal funky interpretation of the ancient Haggadah, save for about 3 people who clearly weren't interested in all at any interpretations of the text, but preferred to get down to the meal already. Typical Jews.

I spoke about meaningful prayer - how difficult it was to find that feeling of elation when you pray in ordinary Orthodox synagogues, preferring Jewish Renewal or the Kol Haneshama Reform Congregation in Jerusalem instead for the spiritual way they pray. But one of the guests told me about a women's prayer group that meets once a month in my very own neighborhood and she felt it was highly spiritual, so I guess I might as well give it a try.

Our hostess inquired about my New Age beliefs - she was annoyed at my Wandering Judaism and was getting emotional about my straying from the well-trodden path of Orthodox Jews. "Don't you believe that the 613 commandments were given from God? Don't you think it's wrong to just pick and choose?" This after Hubby was reading from his Haggadah about how saying that the 613 Laws felt like it came from the police rather than from God.

I told my hostess rather politely that all these commandments had strayed far from their original source interpreted by rabbis and who knows what God really had in mind for us? There are many different paths to God.

Behind me was another guest rooting me on with her "Yeah, she's right" every time I said something to the hostess.

I told her now that we chucked alot of the Sabbath restrictions, we were happier now as a family. And isn't enjoying the Sabbath what it's all about - not dreading that it comes every week?

"Aren't you happier that your daughter is marrying someone religious - wouldn't you rather have that than the other way around?" she asked her final question.

"No, I just want her to be happy. If she was going to be both Orthodox and narrow-minded, that would probably upset me. Other than that it doesn't matter what she becomes - she just must make it her duty to be happy. That's all that matters, really."

Reverting back to Nice Hostess, she told me how it is wonderful that Hubby puts me on a pedastel and calls me "My Wife", that he respects me and all that shit. My daughter glanced at me as if saying "that is one Woman who has had much more than 4 cups of wine tonight." Not everyone knows the real Caveman Hubby.

After that seder ended we went over to the Messianic Seder to see what that was like, as it was nearing its end and people were already leaving. We knocked on the door at 12:30 am.

"Who's there?" they asked.

"Elijah the prophet" and we walked in.

It was no second coming, but it was fun to be with them. We had a bit of a surprise there as we saw former neighbors of ours whom we hadn't seen in 7 years. Turns out the woman got turned on to Jesus/Yeshua 5 years ago but the husband and son were heretics and non-believers like ourselves. I asked her how did she find her path? She told me she saw what her friends had - serenity, fulfillment, happiness - and wanted that too. Fair enough.

Back home, we spoke about our neighbors (just as they, at the same time, were probably speaking about us), and what it was like in that "mixed marriage" where one "believed" and one didn't and how many more people we would see whom we thought we knew at these messianic gatherings.

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