Last year we got really, really lucky when it came to Rosh Hashanah. The holiday fell on our off days so we got be with all of J’s family. Which means it has been a year since I decided not to convert.
In the fall J and I work especially non-traditional work schedules; it’s our busiest time of year. We work nights and weekends. Starting after Labor Day celebrating Shabbat becomes out of the question since Friday is J’s busiest day and Saturday is mine.
Holidays are a whole other story though. Often times they fall during the week, so everybody has the issue of working. J and I play by ear what we do each year. In the past we’ve worked other days to make up for taking off. This year, that’s not an option for us. We’re in different positions, we took more time off this year for wedding events, we just aren’t in a spot to not be at work on a major day.
If we said it was a holiday, our employer would have no issue letting us take the day. I find it particularly difficult to pull out a holiday card since I didn’t convert. It’s something I never thought of before J. Every time a religious holiday came up, I always automatically had it off from school or work. Since I decided not to convert though, I struggle with asking for High Holidays off. It’s one thing to be Jewish and ask for the holidays off, another feeling to need the days off to support your partner and participate in their religion.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve spent the past few years learning how to cook for the holidays. I know holidays are ours, not mine vs. his. I still always follow his lead on them. This year, since he’s not taking off, I won’t be taking off either.
We had a long talk with our Rabbi about this about three years ago. That was the first time work really interfered with the holidays. He gave us the best advice in our situation. The holidays aren’t just about sitting in services. If all we did was sit in services and never sat and reflected about our sins over the past year and what we wanted to improve for the next year we’d be missing the point entirely.
For so many people, because of their schedules, financial obstacles, or proximity to a Jewish community a traditional service is out of the question. His lesson really meant a lot to us because some times traditional Jewish participation is out of the question for us. It feels more inclusive for us to figure out how to celebrate as an interfaith couple.
So this year, J will be home tonight in time for Erev services, so we’ll attended services, have a nice holiday dinner just us at home tonight, reflect on the past year, and pray. Our synagogue also offers a live streamed service, so we’ll be listening to that. When we’re so different, and J is largely indifferent to traditional Jewish practice, we spend a lot of time finding the best way for us to celebrate. That means changing our traditional participation and moving it home this year.
Should our schedules stay the same, Rosh Hashanah will fall on our off days. So perhaps I’ll be hosting my first Rosh Hashanah in 2018.
L’shana Tova! Wishing you all a sweet new year!