Updated Dec, 13th 2012
So I've knoocked out my first draft and already have quite a few issues Among other things, its too long, doesn't really go anywhere and has no ending. I'd like it to sting a bit more, but am unsure how to get there. I definitely have other things I would like to include, such as incorpating the stomping of a glass in our wedding cerememony and my mother in law worrying that I will now be taking over my husband's finances. Just not sure where to cut and how to fit it all in.
Kim the Jew
“I can’t wait to meet your grandmother,” she said. Ah yes, my sweet little Jewish grandmother. The root of all my Jewness. Grandma: the very woman whom decreed my Jewness and at whose house I’ve spent my entire thirty-three years of life celebrating Christmas. I still remember the conversation we had on the day I was informed I had no choice but to be a Jew. It went something like this:
Me: Well, I’m not Jewish.
Grandma: Oh yes you are.
Me: But Grandma, I’ve never been to a temple or been bar or bat mitzvahed, or whatever it’s called.
Grandma: Well, my mother was Jewish, which makes me Jewish, which makes your mother Jewish, which makes you Jewish. We’re Jewish. You’re Jewish.
I’ve since Wikipediaed this logic. The old lady was right.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve used my Jewness to my advantage when necessary. All throughout school, whenever we had a project that asked us to discuss our culture, I used my Jewness in an attempt to be more than my white suburban self. I grew up in an area where being white was lame and all the cool kids were either Filipino or Mexican. So, while the other white kids were exploiting their Portuguese roots, I was touting my mother’s Matza ball soup (which to be fair, I guess Gloria’s mom never made, but she got homemade tortillas and a Quinceanera). You use what you can when you’re up culture creek without a paddle.
When my now-husband first told his Greek mother about me, one of her many questions was about my faith (She also asked: Does she make the bed? Can she cook? Is she lazy? Does she like to spend your money?). And then he told her: Kim is Jewish.
“Oh, she’s Jewish. Her parents must be rich and she must be good with money.” Little did she know that only a couple years earlier I had just finished paying off the $15,000 worth of credit card debt I had racked up in my twenties learning to skydive and getting high.
From that moment forward, I was Kim the Jew.
“You know, I was listening to one of my favorite Republican radio shows the other day. He’s a Jew!”
“What are some of your favorite Jewish traditions?”
“Is Kimberly a Hebrew name?”
My mother in law prepared all the food for our wedding. It was a massive Greek feast that included two lambs and a pig (because pigs are super kosher), each roasting on a spit. The night before the wedding, she worked tirelessly on loaf after loaf of Greek bread and kept telling me she was making me something special, a little glint of pride in her eye as she winked at me. Late in the evening, she called me over.
“Well, what do you think?” It was clear that the correct reaction entailed me being really impressed and really excited.
I stared down at the elaborately braided bread creation before me.
“Oh cool, a giant pretzel.” We’d been living in Switzerland the last six months, it seemed appropriate, what can I say?
“Its Jewish wedding bread.”
“Oh. Right. Cool.”
Of course it was Jewish wedding bread. What else would it be? And in twenty fours hours, it was evidently my job to cut this Jewish wedding bread (turns out its called Challah bread, for anyone who is interested) while my husband would cut the Greek wedding bread.
My initial post:
Most of my current story ideas revolve around my change in relationship status:
1. I recently married into a Greek family. This has led to many things, including my Jewish backgroud getting pushed into the forefront of my identity in their eyes. Suddenly I became their resident expert on all things Jew, even though I have never stepped foot inside a synagoge (expcept for that one time when I was 9 and my dance group performed at my instructor's synagoge. Is synagogue even the right word for a Jewish house of worship??).
2. The wedding was also quite an event. Being the DIYing, pinterest pinning girl that I am, we handled everything for the wedding ourselves, including making all the food. In charge of the food was my mother in law, a tiny, Greek chef who likes to keep her apron strings tightly wound around the necks of her children, especially my husband - her youngest and most perfect son. I had one request for the food - no cake. Less because I am anti-cake, and more because I love cookies. I just wanted simple cookie table. We spent months going back and forth on this. To my face it was "Whatever the bride wants" but behind my back, it was "No cake? How can there be no cake? There HAS to be a cake!" Already a dsigrace because we were having a not fancy wedding at a not a Greek church campgground ("There's just so much dirt!") I was plagued by the cookie-cake debacle. When I had first suggested we have a cookie buffet rather than a cake, I had no idea that I would be starting war. On the day of the wedding, there was a beautiful spread of delicious greek cookies. And a cake.