I Still Want To Be Jewish

I wrote an essay back in 2011 called, I Want To Be Jewish, which still seems to be the case.

I’ll blame it on my lapsed Catholicism that’s left me wandering in the wilderness.

At sundown today Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, begins. It’s their Lent when Jews remember their dead and atone for their sins.

One reason I’d like to be Jewish is because they repent all in one day as opposed to Catholics who flog themselves for six weeks or so giving up things like M&Ms and butter just to make a good impression.

I grew up being taught annually to sacrifice something I loved pre-Easter. That way I could devour my entire basket in one sitting which was kind of what happened. You deny a kid chocolate for that long, all bets are off Easter morning.

This is the real reason for all that adolescent acne. And when my mother would inquire why my big mocha bunny only had one ear, I’d feign ignorance just to be punished till Christmas.

Jews spend one day fasting in Temple gracing benches they pay a fortune for (see, you do get what you pay for). I’m pretty sure by investing in a seat this is why it’s over in twenty-four hours.

No I’m not being irreverent, I think there’s a spot of truth in that.

Why do you think they’re all so successful. It’s because they don’t waste time.

I like watching families, who you know are starving, ambling down the Avenue on their way to Temple Emanuel, the big daddy of synagogues, in navy suits and printed dresses. The older women wear hats to be distinguished from the young.

I love the kids having a great time since they get to eat.

Who said big deal, it’s only for one day? Try it…technically you’re not even supposed to have water let alone a little snack when your stomach, at around one, starts to retaliate.

I’m jealous no one has asked me to stroll along even though I smile and hope they take the hint. Why not bring a Shiksa along, how could it hurt?

There’s a poignancy in the ritual of presenting God with an entire day. I mean it’s the very least one can do when you think about it. Now a month is overdoing it and I’m almost certain he thinks so too.

My friend Amy, who doesn’t formally observe, still goes to Temple to hear the Yizkor read, which means remembrance in Hebrew, when you solemnly recall your beloved dead. I can’t tell you how that moves me…a special prayer for those you love and painfully miss.   Amy prays for her parents.

I think we suffer on our own every day. Personal circumstances practically guarantee it. The God of my understanding understands and doesn’t wish to add to our gloom meaning, a day of repentance is quite enough for him which is why my Catholicism is buried in the closet behind an old pair of clogs. If it could, the church would hand out complimentary hair-shirts as you walked in the door…like party favors.

There’s nothing gentle about being Catholic…guilt prevails…original sin lurks. How can a newborn baby at its first cry be a sinner? A concept that has always eluded me.

I’d formally convert to Judaism, but from what I hear those prayers in Hebrew are killers to learn and frankly I’ve just never had an ear.

All kidding aside.

In essence, Yom Kippur is about love and forgiveness, so can you blame me for wanting in?

Gmar Chatimah Tovah

May you be sealed in The Book of Life for a good year.

Let us dream.

SB

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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18 Responses to I Still Want To Be Jewish

  1. I would love to go to a Jewish ceremony and see the rituals. In my mind, it’s all worshiping God, so it’s all good, right? Not sure if Jews would disagree or not.

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    • They have lovely rituals to be sure. I like the concept of dipping apples in honey for a sweet year and placing a stone on a grave to announce your presence. There’s a lot of heart in Judaism…perhaps if Catholicism didn’t leave such scars I’d find some poignancy there as well. Not the case though.

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  2. micklively says:

    I’ll just give you a “like” today. 😉

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  3. I’m with you….in and out, get the job done and call it a day. The God I know would never put conditions on how to love, how to feel pain or how to honor my beliefs.

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      • I was driving today and thinking about this post. You had me wondering on my image of God…I came to the conclusion that the image of God in my mind is Aibileen Clark from The Help. Have a good weekend!
        ps. I saw the Carlyle on our local news, of course the story was about Nicole Kidman getting run down, which I don’t really care about. I was waiting to see you and Camile!!

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      • Oh that Nicole will do just about anything to get attention. Camille heard she threw herself in front of that truck. I think Abileen Clark is a great image. I can see her on that rocker with the little fat girl on her lap…yous smot, yous kond…yous impotant…repeat after me 🙂

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  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Yeah, Susannah, the baby full of sin thing was hard for me to swallow, too. I never accepted it. It sounds like we were on the same page with lent, though. I was like a miser, stockpiling my candy and watching the heap grow. Waiting for the day I could devour it.
    Hey, I have an idea. You could be like Charles Shultz with his Penuts strip. On the days you take off from posting you can recycle an older post. We accept all offerings.

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  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    The Catholic Church expects you to atone weekly at confession. Confess your sins, do your penance and off you go. A dear friend of mine who also grew up Catholic (as I did) converted to Judaism when she met her husband-to-be. Her parents essentially disowned her. But, she’s happy, it’s “home” to her. They’re kind of like Charlotte and Harry in “Sex and the City”, she’s much more ‘devout’, if you will, than he is. If it resonates with you, go with it.

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  6. katecrimmins says:

    As a recovering Catholic, I loved the rituals and traditions and pomp and circumstance. Some of the things I found odd were wondering what happened to all those people who ate meat on Fridays in the old days. Is there really a purgatory? I heard that was done away with too. And of course, poor St. Christopher. He used to be in everyone’s car until he was demoted. I was always practical for lent. I gave up liver and onions (yuk) or something similar. I NEVER gave up chocolate. Nope, no way!

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    • Love the St. Christopher line…just like that, a Saint gets kicked upstairs, or is downstairs more apt. The Catholic Church and their famed flights of fancy…the way they change things that were oh so important. Vatican 2 for instance. Even now, you go in, everything is changed. Popped in recently and couldn’t even follow the mass. Oh well…another indication is was home no longer.

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  7. I was raised Catholic, almost became a nun, and now am a born again believer going to a home church… yes, guilt plagues me daily… I think God has a sledge hammer with my name engraved on it to hit me upside the head for each mistake I made. My last job was for Jewish Family Services, Senior Center… I think I have hit all the highlights, no fasting though, today was party day for me.

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    • I can relate totally. It’s very hard to rid yourself of those early teachings. My mother used God as a weapon. I try very hard to think of him as kind and understanding and then the old tapes play. When I say I want to be Jewish, what I’m really saying is, I want to be in grace. Jews have that…they are so committed to their beliefs without angst or anger. It’s such a part of who they are. i have a friend who I love so much who’s Jewish and to look at him you’d never see that commitment yet it’s there beneath tattoos and earrings, guitars and global travels. I admire it so DAF.

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