I’m secretly a little bit jealous of J’s siblings and cousins. None of them are interfaith. So when one of them just plans to do Shabbat, it’s no big deal. For us, people always see it as a thing. They get to celebrate as a family, with their children who are so solid from day one in where they belong. The oldest, at three-years old sings HaMotzi every time she sees bread.
Every restaurant with candles and bread, she celebrates Shabbat with prayers and singing and covering any sort of carby goodness on the table with a napkin and pulling the napkin off like a magician and distributing us pieces of bread that she’s torn off.
It’s the kind of adorable that makes you squeal every time you see it. But in truth, we’ve missed ever doing an actual Shabbat with her. We live a plane ride away and frequently our work schedules prevent us from ever having a weekend off that’s not diligently planned months in advance.
We don’t work in a field that affords us a weekend off consistently. During our busy season, Fridays and Saturdays become our busiest and most hectic days. Even Sundays get crazy.
So really, we don’t have weekends off. Sometimes we do. Usually though I’m spending it at work running around. So it certainly doesn’t help with our religious practice when our clergy has the same off days as us and there’s no services or programs for young adults.
Take this weekend for instance, we had a plan to go to services Friday night. I was going to take a break from work, recenter myself and head back into the thick of work. And then everything blew up at once. So I got stuck at the office and I was here early Saturday morning.
Suffice to say, any sort of services went out the window for us.
J’s family never celebrated Shabbat on a consistent basis. They did when the kids were interested in it, but it was never a part of their regular Friday night family routine. From that, it’s not a part of J’s consistent routine as an adult post the questioning religion phase of college freedom.
The work schedule isn’t a new thing, it’s just a rotating thing. And we got out of one of our best habits when it rotated about a year ago. We also dropped our best habit because I decided not to convert. It was like in doing so, I suddenly felt that Judaism wasn’t “mine” to be a part of if I didn’t have someone legitimate with me. And it’s nothing to do with our community, it is much more of my own anxieties. Like people will know that I’m some sort of fraud in my prayers. And I feel like by me not converting, J got some sort of get out of services free card because it only became a part of his like because it was a part of mine. Unlike me, he doesn’t get much out of organized prayer. Which is a sad thing, I think. But our ritual before was one that I think improved our relationship.
Because we follow Reform Judaism we follow a much more relaxed interpretation of Shabbat. So when we were off together some sort of consistency, we would create our own Shabbat. Even if it was Tuesday. And we’d spend the day talking, maybe finally see that movie we’ve been talking about going to, go to minor league baseball game or take a cooking class together. The rule was if there were things that had to be done on the computer, you could only spend two hours on the machine, and there were no phones. We spent most of our time doing things we didn’t always normally do and spending time with each other.
For a while since we could just go to services, go to dinner and hang out on Saturday we stepped away from our truly special ritual we had created for ourselves. And I know life is a little crazier than normal with just three weeks until our wedding. But craziness right now doesn’t excuse the month before when we weren’t three weeks from our wedding.
So I think our honeymoon, which we’re leaving everything with work on the mainland for two weeks and not talking to anyone (ok, except our photographer if she has our wedding photos ready) and hopefully we’ll be able to re make these rituals and this time for each other that we can carry into our marriage.
It’s kind of the beauty of interfaith, we’re designing what is working best for us.