We whisper to each other, but not to you.
As I made my way back to Los Angeles from our Colorado Ski Vacation, the news of Israel retaliating with a Ground Invasion brought my vacation to an abrupt end. I find it startling that Bloomberg (the Mayor of New York City) is boarding a plane to the Middle East but Condoleeza Rice is silent. Israel has been bombed 90 times in the past few months, they’re hitting back. Hurts, doesn’t it?
If you’re a Jew you intrinsically know the import of the Shabbat Goy. The Shabbat Goy buys your dog for a dollar and a handshake so that it can continue living in your home and eating traif. The Shabbat Goy, for another dollar, will buy all your Chametz before Pesach and sell it back to you at the end for the same dollar. The Shabbat Goy is an integral part of every Shul, and spoken about with a grin in every Jewish home. We are people of the book, and we love taking notes in the margins.
This week, I find myself loving the role of the X-Mas Jew. I wander from home to home bringing a bit of cheer and no expectations. None. I waltz in the door well rested, because my children didn’t need to get up at Still Dark O’Clock to greet Santa and his Reindeer, and have a glass of wine. I giggle and meet a few new people, listen intently to the family pathology and think, “Oh, this is so familiar.”
I’m the X-Mas Jew. I bring nothing to the table spiritually. I have no traditions nor expectations. If it’s a pot luck I bring whatever is requested of me, no more and no less because I’m unfamiliar with the rules.
I make it a practice to break only the rules I know intimately.
If your day is religious I will bow my head when you do and whisper Amen with a congregation. The incense burnt at Mass smells curiously like that of Havdalah. It’s comforting to know just how close we all are.
X-Mas for the Jew is perfectly delightful as we prance from celebratory tree trimming to duplexes with retro porn and pitbulls. My husband, the children and I land right in the middle of families born and families created, some wacky, others staid, but we are squarely in the middle of traditions that neither repel nor draw us in.
It’s really quite a treat to be the X-Mas Jew.
It’s almost 10 and a little drizzly here in Los Angeles. My coffee is hot and my son sits shivering in front of the new Playstation we gave them for Chanukkah. My daughter and my husband sleep late and in a few moments I’ll wake them and ask them to get out of bed. I wont’ necessarily have something for them to do, but they should be upright with eyes open.
They city is absurdly quiet and I remember just how much I hated living in rural Colorado all those years ago.