Apr 19, 2011

the jewish thanksgiving

sarah silverman calls passover the jewish thanksgiving and, as they say, it's funny because it is true

I mean, ofcourse, it is much more than that: a celebration of freedom, a demonstrative lesson in gratitude, a chance to drink 4 glasses of wine with support from a higher power....

But on many levels thanksgiving and passover DO have something in common, namely: it a time when many jews get into a room with a bunch of family and friends that they barely ever see otherwise to eat and drink a WHOLE LOT

AND with any holiday that brings people together who just don't see eachother that often, but have a historical bond, I find it really is a chance to give thanks.

As such, with the intent of being a glass half full (and waiting for elijah) kinda gal: I have to say I am really thankful for the friends I have. I never ceased to be amazed by the variety of people, ranging from jews who are interested in finding a home for an evening, to those who are simply curious about a tradition, who come to our seders. And I am quite clear that many, falling into the latter group, are partially there to support me on a holiday, as I attempt to keep ties to traditions I grew up with. The bonus is that it is also a chance for me to share a little bit more about my background and about what makes being jewish more than a label, more than an ethnicity. And the fact that people are interested in that makes me feel especially loved and grateful.

But, also being a glass is getting empty kinda gal (some evaporation is bound to take place waiting for the herald of the messiah, after all) I have to admit there is a bittersweet quality to seders. Naturally, over the course of decades, the attendants change. Some move, some are no longer with us, and some we simply drift apart from. And it causes me to take stock in the ways we have all grown, and in some cases, grown apart.

One of the hardest things about getting older, for me, is coming to terms with the amount of people in my roledex that are more like old family than friends now: aged vintage and close to my heart, but no longer people who yearn to share time. People who I suspect may still love me on some level, but probably like me just a bit less than they used to. And it causes me to think of the awkward pauses where there once were comfortable silences, the gaps in continuity, the scheduling and rescheduling of yearly meetups that make it all to clear, to all of us, that we have moved significantly down eachother's priority list. And yes, yes, I realize this is part of life and people have lives and responsibilities. They get busy and they get overwhelmed and they get tired. But in the end a small part of the rollcall of excuses can't help but to sound just a little like the friendship chapter of "he's just not that into you"...which is to say, our priorities reflect our affections, when all is said and done.

SO I become thankful, and a little bit sad. I miss all those I was once close to. And so I try to repeat one thought that is also very present in the pesach seder: we are all temporary, there is something bigger. We are preludes on playthings for the wind. And as such we should be grateful for those who love us now. And we should also endeavor to remember fondly the point in time when we shared close intimacies with those no longer close to us, as these are the temporal gifts we are given.

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