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My Jewishness is showing

April 2, 2013

Despite the difficulties associated with observing Passover in college, I did it. I kept Kosher for Passover and didn’t even cheat with yogurt as I did last year (can’t have yogurt because it’s made with yeast, but girl’s gotta survive). My diet was comprised of matzo, deli meats and Kosher-for-Passover desserts that I ordered on the Internet (of which I still have leftovers, so if you want some rather delightful cookies or cake, let me know). I’ll be honest, it was difficult to follow through on this week, and on Saturday in particular, I complained. The rest of the week, I jokingly complained, but on Saturday, I lay on the futon with the desperate desire for popcorn (as an Ashkenazi Jew, that was forbidden). But I didn’t give in, and instead chowed down on matzo (not matzo crackers though… because those were stale).

This may have been the first year I fully and without question observed Passover for the full length of the holiday – and with relatively minimal complaining. I think that fact can be attested to my trip to Israel this past winter. Anyone who knows me even a little would probably say my Jewishness has been showing way more in the past three months than it ever did before my trip. Before my trip, I observed the Jewish holidays, I went to religious school and a Jewish preschool, I became a Bat Mitzvah, I felt something every time someone mentioned the Holocaust and I was interested in my religion and my people. But after my trip, I wear a Star of David almost every day, and I feel a stronger connection to my roots – a connection I could not begin to explain in words on this blog. That is why it was so important to me to fully observe Passover this year.

So I put on my first Seder, complete with a children’s Haggadah and the Seder plate I made at that Jewish preschool so many years ago (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for keeping those things). I shopped at Kosher Island in Hen House to make sure I had all the Passover foods I love, and I chanted in Hebrew in front of a Gentile (only other time that happened was the Bat Mitzvah, a day on which my amazing skills at public speaking were fully on display). And then for the rest of the week, I ate what I could and avoided what I couldn’t. Yes, I complained, but JEWS ARE NOTORIOUS FOR COMPLAINING. (Guess that’s what 40 years of wandering will do). Fact. (So much of a fact that it deserves full capitalization). I enjoy Passover because the fact that the Jewish people have celebrated the same way all around the world and for thousands of years awes me completely. And as an American Jew, I am carrying on that tradition in 2013 and will pass that down to future generations.

It’s interesting to me to look at the journey I have taken in my life – not just religiously, but generally as well. Somehow, I reached Kansas, and somehow, I’ve traveled to two other incredible countries and had my life changed, and somehow, I’ve been able to share my experiences with quality people, and somehow, I’ve found things about which I am passionate, and somehow, I have reached my second decade with much gratitude… and much Jewishness.

And as I write this, I am listening to Jewish a cappella music.

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From → Sophomore

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