The Outside World

post by Jessica

Last night, as I was sitting down to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (who according to Mort Goldman on the Family Guy is our most valuable Jew), I wondered, am I religious enough for what we’re getting into? Not about what I believe or what I do to keep the commandments or any of that stuff. Just the fact that I really enjoy a lot of popular culture.

Jon Stewart & the Colbert Report, Family Guy, South Park, Batman, Star Trek (particularly the new one), Star Wars, Firefly, the majority of the romantic comedies out there, on and on and on, redecorating shows on HGTV, the cake shows on the Food Network. Our newest guilty pleasure is 19 Kids and Counting. I find it fascinating how so much of what they do sounds or looks a little bit like us. Of course, there are things about popular culture that I don’t love nearly as much. Advertisements are among my biggest pet peeves, in that they often portray the inept husband and motherly wife, as though we somehow got sucked into a time vortex. Really? It’s still okay for dad to be acting like one of the kids?  Still, I grew up in popular culture and I can’t see that going away any time soon, especially as we prepare to move the center of it all, New York City.

With starting something new, there’s always the opportunity to do something different, like perhaps covering my hair full time as I become a student. Can I be a rabbi’s wife to the kind of rabbi my husband is going to be without being clear about covering my hair? I was reading a survey posted about hair covering on a forum for religious Jewish women today, and so many of the women could answer the why question with a pat “well, it’s halacha.” Not so black and white here.

It’s little quiet moments like those when I am struck by the enourmity of what we are about to be doing. Both us being students, and my husband in rabbinical school at that. It’s setting yourself up for a major life transformation, and those are often accompanied by personal transitions as well. Seeing it coming is bizarre. I keep remembering back to the last days of my senior year in high school and the beginning of college. I think it might be the last time I felt like this. Moving, starting something new. And yet, in a way, thinking about that transition makes me feel better about this one, particularly where my Jewish journey is concerned. I’ll figure it out, as we go along. I just have to keep the moments of panic at bay.

Also, for those of you interested in a rabbi’s perspective on some of this, I’d like to point you all to an article that Hadassah posted in the comments and the author himself actually emailed me about. It’s a blog post on Yutopia, which is written by Rabbi Josh Yuter, about his perspective on rebbetzins. It can be found here.

{ETA – the link should work now}

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One thought on “The Outside World

  1. Jess, I’m sure you’ll handle the transition beautifully. And whatever you decide about covering (or not) – it’s your decision and only you can figure out for yourself how (if) to make it meaningful. Also, WOW what a great blog post from Rabbi Yuter!

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