Have you noticed that no one in my books ever eats bacon or ham? No hard feelings; it's just not a part of my world view, and therefore doesn't show up in my worlds! (I only realized this recently when someone in a novel I was enjoying tucked into some....)
I was raised in the branch of Judaism called "Conservative" - less rule-bound than the Orthodox, but with a lot more Hebrew and tradition than Reform Judaism. It was founded partly in reaction to the Jews being allowed to join the modern world about 100 years ago. What to give up, and what to keep? As Wiki explains, it's "a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s."
I drifted away, but am proud to see that it is continuing to evolve in response to changes in society. My mom handed me their new quarterly magazine last month, "The Freedom Issue: Looking at Passover, Liberty and Identity.
" Imagine my surprise to find a ton of articles about GLBT Conservative Jews - including rabbis! Because in a landmark decision in 2006, the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (yes, it's complicated. There is no Central Authority in Judaism. Think of it as . . . oh, different schools of Kung Fu which you can choose to adhere to?) voted to allow out gay men and lesbians to be ordained as rabbis and to allow rabbis to perform same-sex commitment ceremonies. I learned a lot and was very moved by the articles. They're all online for you to read at will. Here are some of my favorite excerpts from longer articles:( Read more... )
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And finally, there's a swell article on the origins of the Sede
r: a Greco-Roman Symposium of the 2nd century! It's short, so I won't excerpt it, and just urge you to read it if you've always wondered why the emphasis on reclining, hand-washing, and arguing philosophy around the meaning of food. Not to mention Why Four Cups of Wine? It just makes my cultural syncretism heart go pitta-pat.
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Tonight was the first Seder. Smallish, for various reasons. My mom, Delia & I worked hard, and it was good. Another tomorrow night.
May your parsley be springy & green, and your Liberation joyous!