|All dressed up for Passover. Someone isn't happy|
There are so many ways that I wanted to respond to that...
Your dad, is not a Christian, he is an atheist. He likes Christmas trees and Easter ham. He is not a Christian.
Even Christians have Seders.
Even if your dad was a Christian, he still should have come to celebrate a holiday that is important to my heritage. After all, I don't hide in my bedroom Christmas morning because I'm a Jew.
Just before we were married we had a mandatory counseling session with the reformed Rabbi who would marry us. She sat us down, looked us in the eye and asked point blank how we would handle our interfaith family. What would we tell our kids? We were twenty-five and had an easy answer "We aren't religious." It didn't matter to us. We would give our kids a bit of this and a bit of that. My husband wasn't a church-goer and I did not have plans to keep Shabbat. Religion didn't matter.
I still do not consider myself a religious person, and neither is my husband. Neither of us believe in the immaculate conception or the parting of the red sea, which is why I am just as comfortable attending a Seder on Monday and welcoming the Easter Bunny this Sunday. So what has changed? I have. I have come to realize the importance of my Jewish heritage to my identity. Although it's been years since I have attended synagogue on a regular basis the songs and prayers are familiar, they are a warm memory of childhood.
My husband has all kinds of traditions that tie him to his past. A Greek meal on New Year's. Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas. His very name is Greek, and now mine is too. Christmas and Easter are celebrated loudly and without apology in our society. Target is lit up in red and green from October to January. The isles of the grocery and drug stores are crammed with jelly beans and chocolate bunnies from March-April.He doesn't have to work to keep his family traditions alive.
My heritage is tied to religion and not geography. I'm not a Russian or an Israeli, I am a Jew. The stores don't market our holidays. If I want to acknowledge the traditions of my past, I have to make an effort. I must seek out a Jewish community, I must host or go to a Seder, I must attend Yom Kippur services. And I must take my children with me, so that they will know where they came from.
Monday night, I took the boys to a kid's Seder at the Berkeley JCC. I didn't have the energy to host a Seder. I grew up attending large Seders in our home or the home of our friends. They were crowded with members of our synagogue, friends and family. We said the prayers, ate the matzoh and drank the sweet red wine. We sang and hunted for the afikomen. My mom always made the matzoh ball soup. It was tradition. It was home.
The JCC had a 5:00 service for families of young children. I told my husband that he didn't have to come, I knew it was early for him since he usually doesn't get home from work until nearly 7. He also had tickets to a basketball game. I would take the boys myself, it would be fine.
|Glass, before it was spilled.|
|This is the box just as it was opened. Not too appetizing.|
I found myself wishing that I had made a Seder at home, one with friends and matzoh ball soup and hot chicken.When Zachary told me that his dad didn't come to the Seder because he was a Christian, my heart sank. At that moment I decided then that we were going to celebrate the Jewish holidays the way we do the Christian ones, with energy, enthusiasm, tradition and the whole family.
At twenty five I didn't know what would be important to me as a grown woman with a family. Lucky for me, I did know the man I that I was marrying would support me and help me grow. As a mother, I want my children to know me, to know their father, to know their grandparents, to know their history. They have two parents who grew up differently in many ways, but now we are one family creating the memories and traditions for their future.
And honestly, what could be better than a Swedish Greek Jew?