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Who Am I?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

From four o’clock in the afternoon until I arrive home, any call that shows up on my mobile’s caller ID with the name “home” fills me with dread. Because “home” is never calling for just a chat. And by “home,” I mean Beernut. Having overheard me “leave the number after the beep” somewhere between one and two million times, it seems that he memorized it. Giving him, in his mind, permission to use it. At any time. For any reason.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when the voice that greeted me on the other end of the line belonged not to Beernut, but to Poppyseed. (Note: I didn’t even know that she knew how to use a phone.)

Poppyseed: Mama, can I be in the multi-cultural fashion show?
FrumeSarah: Is it tomorrow?
Poppyseed (laughing): Of course it’s not tomorrow.
FrumeSarah: Then this conversation can wait until tomorrow. Anyway, why would you be in a multi-cultural fashion show?
Poppyseed (eyes audibly rolling): I am Jewish, you know.

It raises an interesting question. What does it mean to be Jewish? Or, more specifically, what does it mean to be a kid from a serious Jewish family, living in a non-Jewish society?

By asking to take part in her school’s multi-cultural fashion show, Poppyseed recognizes what was articulated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in his groundbreaking, 1934 work, Judaism as a Civilization.

Judaism is not only a religion; it is a people with its own history, identity, culture and civilization.

Not only does Poppyseed sense that her Jewish identity extends beyond issues of faith, but she is willing to stand up and take her place among her Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Egyptian, and Indian classmates. [Indian as in the Commonwealth not the indigenous peoples of the Americas.]

Now we just have to figure out what she should wear?



So which shall it be???

  1. Jewish Mother Racheil
  2. Dreidel Maidel
  3. Shabbas Queen
  4. Shtetl Chic
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19 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, 6 January 2011 1:01 am

    No dreidel. Chanukah is over, and if people know anything about Judaism it’s Chanukah. Keep us posted, with pictures of course.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:14 am

      I agree. No dreidel!

  2. Thursday, 6 January 2011 3:25 am

    Ok *where* can I get a “dreidel maidel” costome for ME!?

    David attends a very diverse school. For “Spirit Week” one year, one day was somethingg like “honor your heritage”. David wore a Cincinnati Bearcats shirt. “Cuz I come from Ohio, you know,” he said to me.

    How could I argue?! It *is* the Holy City after all, right? 🙂

    PS I Loooooove the audible eyeroll. Can’t wait til she’s a teenager, huh????

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:15 am

      You mean she isn’t a teenager?

      I like David’s approach. Makes sense.

  3. Thursday, 6 January 2011 7:31 am

    My vote’s with Shtetl Chic. As the granddaughter of both Litvaks and Galitcianers it totally speaks to me! =)

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:15 am

      O00 — I’m mixed too. Causes a great deal of internal strife, BTW, being of both Litvaks and Galitcianers 😉

      • Wednesday, 12 January 2011 1:28 pm

        Tell me about it… My mother used to refer to herself as the product of a “mixed” marriage — a Litvak married to a Galitcianer!

      • Frume Sarah permalink*
        Wednesday, 12 January 2011 2:25 pm

        OK — so I was going to write that, but didn’t want to come across as offensive. But yeah, that’s what we say too!

  4. Thursday, 6 January 2011 7:36 am

    I’d go with the ghetto-wear. Or, for a write-in candidate, like a chalutza.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:16 am

      Hadn’t thought of that. Hm…

  5. Thursday, 6 January 2011 8:50 am

    what, not a hot chanie option?

  6. Thursday, 6 January 2011 1:42 pm

    I like Shtetl Chic too!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:16 am

      I’m with you on this one.

  7. Thursday, 6 January 2011 7:53 pm

    I have to vote for the shtetl chic.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:18 am

      I’m leaning in that direction…stay tuned.

  8. Thursday, 6 January 2011 9:51 pm

    LOVE the options! And such a good point on the deeper level . . . WHAT would a kid wear to “represent” something like Judaism??? Especially when it’s not Purim and you can’t just do the usual suspects (Esther, etc.) Let us know the final choice!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:19 am

      Thanks 😉

      I considered Esther for a few moments, but that’s not really a good representation of our culture.

      I’ll definitely have pictures of the final choice 😉

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