Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My Bird is Sick. And I Don't Want To Take THE COURSE.

The parakeet is not well, and we are dosing him with antibiotics and vitamin pill mush. He is also moulting, and basically, looks and feels like hell.

In other news, I am looking for a rabbi to marry me to a gentile. (The fella, I mean, not just any gentile.) I was thinking about having the wedding at Temple Emanu-El--after all, my bat mitzvah was there--and their clergy offer interfaith weddings--and, well, then I found out about The Course.

It is simply called The Course. It used to be Judaism 101, but that, I guess, was not sufficiently scary. The Course is a three-trimester extravaganza of information about Judaism, with classes covering:

The Jewish Calendar and The Sabbath
Festivals and Holy Days
The Spiritual Journey of the High Holy Days
B'nei Mitzvah
Conversion and Mikvah
Marriage and Divorce
Death and Memory
Jewish History
Liturgical Movements
The Siddur
Reform Judaism
The Synagogue
The Jewish Home
Finding God
God, Covenant, and Mitzvot
Jewish Thought on God
Sacred Texts
The Interpretive Tradition
Who Were the Jews ?
American Jew or Jewish American?
The Origins and Purposes of Anti-Semitism
Choosing Judaism: From Abraham Until Today

I read this off to Groomra, who listened to the whole list, and informed me that although he loves me, he doesn't think he likes me that much.

Am I being unreasonable? I realize that this is momentous thing we're doing here, but:

1. I feel as though I am something of an unappreciated expert on how to live in an interfaith family.

2. I am a rabbinic school dropout. I think I could teach most of this course.

3. I have a job. I have a very busy life. I don't honestly want to dedicate two hours of it every Tuesday night for a year to this.

4. This is the kicker--evidently if I were marrying a Jew I wouldn't have to do this. Even if we were both entirely ignorant of and indifferent to all of Jewish practice and history, we wouldn't have to do this. I have issues. I believe that inmarriage is positive, but I don't think it should substitute for actual Jewish education or commitment to Jewish survival.

I grew up as the daughter of an interfaith marriage at a time when there was a LOT of smack being talked about families like mine. Any attempt to get me to prove my yiddishkeit by extraordinary measures tends to lead me to act out. (They, frankly, don't want us in the class. I am argumentative when riled, and the fella will fall asleep.)

Maybe we'll just rent a hall at Emanu-El. Or get married at the Cartoon Museum. Or somewhere.


Ezer K'negdo said...

Wow - sounds stressful. I am sorry your bird is sick. Email me at ezerknegdo at gmail dot com; I may actually be able to help you with some of the rabbi stuff. Seriously.

Eliyahu said...

I read this off to Groomra, who listened to the whole list, and informed me that although he loves me, he doesn't think he likes me that much. oy! let's hope he might grew to like you.

how does he feel about being in community? well, for that matter, how do you feel about it?

i suppose Danville in on the other side of world for you, but Cong B'nai Chayim has a great community system that's required as part of membership. i heard their rabbi, Dan Goldblatt, give a talk on it over the summer. it felt good, but then i'm in a much looser community.

this summer, i did also meet a lovely woman from Santa Cruz who does weddings. email me & i'll send her contact info.

blessings on the each of you that you may be united in bliss on your holy wedding day!

Eliyahu said...

oh, i just saw the drive
-thru wedding chapel in Las Vegas. don't know, however, if they have a rabbi....

dan said...

One place to look is:

They are a Bay Area organization that specializes in things like connecting a couple to the appropriate person to do their wedding. I've never used any of their services, but I know several of the people working there and they are very good.

As for the course, I personally think it's sad that a couple with two Jews isn't tested about their knowledge and/or suggested to take a course. As the opposite extreme, multiple people suggested my wife and I that we should get premartial counseling (as a standard procedure - not anything specific). We went to the local Jewish Family and Children's Services and were told that they now only do group conseling for for interfaith couples and we'd need to sign up for expensive personal sessions if we wanted counseling.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

I find this all very interesting as I might very well be in a similar situation in the next few years. I can't imagine my SO being willing to go through any such course unless she was super-enthusiastic about the community. Which could theoretically happen, but we'll have to see.

Good luck with the search!

Kai Jones said...

You know, that's pretty much the course I took as a convert.

I have sympathy on the marriage issue; despite the fact that I was an involved, dues-paying member of my congregation for almost 10 years, the rabbi wouldn't marry me to my non-Jewish husband without some year-long counseling and unstated rigamarole beforehand.