#BlogElul2013 2: Act

This is going up late due to a combination of international travel and Shabbat. 

One of the aspects of my new Jewish identity that I am trying to puzzle out is “how do I act in a way that conveys my Judaism?” I don’t really know the answer. As I move towards becoming a married woman, I’ve flirted with the idea of head-covering – mainly because I like the symbolic, private aspect of it, but also because there are so many elegant headcovering ladies (of both the Jewish and Muslim persuasions) out there.  But it doesn’t feel quite like “me,” and I don’t anticipate doing it.  So there goes that.

I’ve also spent a lot of time contemplating the idea of kashrut, or Jewish dietary laws. It’s the aspect of my conversion that people ask about most frequently “so, are you keeping kosher now?” to which I always awkwardly respond “well, no, not really.”

But the truth is, it’s a work in progress. I don’t usually actively seek out pork products (not that I used to), but I will cook with them on occasion. I make a conscious effort to have kosher-friendly meals on Shabbat (no pork, no beef with dairy, though sometimes I slip up). I don’t ever anticipate keeping strict kosher, because the system doesn’t make sense to me (keeping different sets of dishes, the apparently transmutable properties of food through layers of foil or saran wrap), but I do think that keeping some semblance of kosher in my day-to-day life would be a defining act of Jewishness for me.

The question is, how do I carry out the action of keeping kashrut in a way that makes sense to me? I don’t put much stock in the idea of hechsers, though I’m always pleasantly surprised when I notice them on favored products.  So where does that leave me? Pursuing ethically sourced food, particularly meat? Pursuing food options that are sustainable, or help support local farmers (like farm shares)? I don’t know, but I want to figure it out, to act and live a Jewish life.

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One thought on “#BlogElul2013 2: Act

  1. I struggled with the same thoughts when I started my ba’al teshuvah journey. I’m vegan, so technically, everything I eat should be kosher, with or without the hechsher, right?! That was my basic argument. But I began to realize that keeping kosher isn’t just about if the food is adequate to eat or not, but rather it takes even the food that I eat to a higher, more G-d-like level. It elevates the mitzvot that I do in my daily life. It provides me with an energy that is right for the Jewish soul.

    Many blessings on your journey and I hope you can figure it out for yourself! I’d suggest talking with a Chabad rabbi. It may sound scary, but they are really cool with people of all observance levels, and even people doing conversions. They have a more spiritual twist to Judaism that I found I really like and connect with.

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