Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This Jewish girl misses Christmas

Today Slate publishes the strangest Jewish peons to Christmas you will ever read. See it here

The piece was written by Adina-Kay Gross who grew up Jewish on Long Island, the daughter of an Italian Catholic from Brooklyn who converted years before she met Adina's father. Though Mom was "all -in" with Judaism, she couldn't bear to leave her lonly, widowed mother by herself on the holidays so she shleped her family, including her man-of-the-year Jewish husband back to Brooklyn every year for egg nog, church services, and Christmas dinner.

Reading it the first time, I took it for granted that Adina was an Orthodox Jew. All the little biographical markers I interpret as Orthodox were present in the piece and the fact that her mom converted from conviction, rather than love, suggests the sort of sincerity I associate with fundementalism. Still I had questions: Would an Orthodox family sit in church? And though the descriptions were ambiguous, it certainly sounded like she and her family were eating Italian grandma's food.

Twenty minutes of Googling and I had the full story. Adina-Kay Gross grew up reform, the daughter of an English professor who became ordained as a Reform Rabbi in his fifties, following a journey of religious exploration that included sessions in a neighborhood yeshiva.

What have we learned from this?  (A) I can't determine a Jewish writer's religious sect on the basis of a few paragraphs (B) Reform Jews do not necessarily have any shortage of religious devotion (I knew this, but it was nice to have the message re-inforced)  (C) Google is scary .

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