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Friday, 18 April 2008

I have a great life. I married my prom date and we are still in love. We have three sweet and loving children. Overall, we are all in good health. I do important and meaningful work.

Do PC and I ever bicker? Of course. Do the children get along all the time? Hardly. Was this a tough year what with all the ear infections, stomach viruses, lice, etc.? Absolutely. [Not to mention the kid on the Spectrum.] Do I ever have a bad day at the office? Sure.

But come on…it really is life filled with blessings.

So why am I unhappy?

Mah kasheh l’Frume Sarah? [As mentioned in an earlier posting, when looking at a pasuk, we often ask mah kasheh l’Rashi in order to uncover what difficulty Rashi might have had with a word, a turn of phrase, or even an entire verse.] What’s bugging Frume Sarah?

This is the season of my discontent. Do not worry. Unlike Steinbeck’s Ethan, I have no plans to report anyone to immigration or to encourage anyone to engage in any destructive behaviour. I am just feeling out-of-place here in America.

In my ongoing frustrating experiences with Beernut’s school, I received an invitation to a luncheon honouring volunteers…for next week. And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that there is not going to be supervision.

I’m tired of having to make choices all of the time when it comes to asserting my Jewish identity. And I am finding it harder and harder to feel like a welcomed and included part of the cultural landscape.

This Monday is Patriots’ Day. If you are not a New Englander, you might not even know that there is a day set aside to commemorate the start of the Revolutionary War. The battles at Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19th and in 1969, the civic holiday was moved to the third Monday in April. [Hm…sound familiar??] Since 1897, The Boston Marathon has been run on Patriots’ Day — which this year coincides with the second day of Pesach.

Not affecting most of the participants, the juxtoposition of Patriots’ Day with Passover raises a real dilemma for Jewish runners. To run or not to run?

Nothing is ever simple with us, is it? As a dyed-in-the-wool Reform Jew,
I reject the notion that an additional day needs to be added to the festivals in order to make certain that Jews living outside of Eretz Yisrael are celebrating the festivals on the correct days. If seven days of Pesach were good enough for God, surely it is good enough for me.

That being said, I recognize that a goodly number of Jews living in the Diaspora do add the additional day — making Rosh Hashanah 2 days, Sukkot and Passover 8 days, and Shavu’ot 2 days. And though it is not my personal practice and my shul davka is open on Monday, for a significant percentage of the American Jewish community. Monday is a holy day.

Which is why this really bothered me. Running the Boston Marathon during the intermediary days would be tough but possible to do without violating the holiday. But to participate on either the first two or last two days is a public desecration of the holy day.

I don’t remember anyone saying that being Jewish was convenient. It means making choices. Choices that sometimes preclude our participation in activities in which we desire to engage.

If you believe that Judaism is a way of life, than it must really impact what and how you live. Like it does for these folks.

A sweet Pesach to all! FrumeSarah will return during the Intermediate Days of Pesach…

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