Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keeping Kosher for Passover

I keep kosher for Passover.* I'm not a Jew, but this week I feel most passionate about being married to a Jewish person. One way I show this is by keeping kosher for passover with him. It is an act of solidarity and support of him and the Jewish side of our family. It is my way of saying to the world that our family is half Jewish, I like that they are Jewish, I support their Jewishness, and I take part in this tradition because my family does. And, well, Jesus was Jewish and he kept kosher for passover. While I'm not interested in Messianic Judaism I enjoy exploring the Jewish context of Jesus' life. It helps me connect my life today to the story of the crucifixion because it started at a seder. The main event of my religion is set in a Jewish context. I have found that the practice of keeping kosher for passover supports me in Jewish and Christian ways.

This week, I sit at the lunch table with my baggie of matzoh and a distinct lack of bread products on my plate. For me, eating matzoh is like receiving the imposition of ashes on my forehead each Ash Wednesday.** It is an obvious and public way of sharing my beliefs. Putting your beliefs on your body or on your plate is also an open invitation for questions. People around me say things like, "What are you eating? Why are you eating matzoh? I thought you were Christian!" I tease my family during Passover saying I am the Jewish Lorax: "I am The Goyax, I speak for the Jews!" But in reality, I have been part of communities where there are no Jews and knowing me is as close as they get. This was the case at the school where I did my student teaching. I was the only person there whose families celebrated Jewish holidays and traditions so I shared with them. Through sharing, I have discovered that many people genuinely want to know about Judaism, they want myths dispelled, and they find learning about it enriching.

While I am humbled by this role, it makes me sad that there persists a lack of diversity in my city. I take being an ambassador seriously. Especially during Passover, I enjoy the opportunity this week to inform and open minds. I try to answer the questions to the best of my ability. I try to promote peace and I feel honored to do so.

*Here is a really good article on keeping kosher for Passover: click here.
**Here is an article from the United Methodist website about imposition of ashes: click here.

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