Monday, March 22, 2010

Cultural INtolerance

It's complicated. My relationship with cultural acceptance. I want to embrace all our differences, but honestly, some practices repel me.

Here's one: female circumcision. At it's core, it is a quashing of female sexual desire. I don't care if it is normal in some parts of Africa, I disdain it and those who impose it. But it's not lost of me that I circumcised (well, not ME, a mohel) both of my sons and it was profound for me to publicly declare them Jews in the tradition of Abraham. There's a disconnect between my two points of view here. I'd love a logical connection, but I can't find one. One is ugly and disgusting to me; the other beautiful and profound.

I own a Keffiyeh. It's a traditional Arab scarf favored by Palestinians. It's not worn by women and it's not worn by Jews. I'm both and I wear it in protest. Well, let's be honest, it's comfortable, warm and attractive; that's why I wore it at first. But it's become a quiet FU to tenets I find disdainful. The treatment of women in many Arab countries disgusts me. I find burkas to be another way to hide women from the world and there are many Arab "cultural" actions I think are basically anti-female and they piss me off. I wear my so-called religious garment as a fashion accessory as a spit in the face of the misogynism that permeates Arab culture. As a Jew, I'm a strong supporter of Israel's right to exist. I'm confident that the so-called Palestinians (no such thing, really) just want to push us into the Sea. So again, my Keffiyeh serves it's purpose.

I wish I was more accepting. Who am I to make these judgements? Well, I'm me. And fortunately, I live in a free country.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I remember, I think, more of my dreams than most people. I like to regale my colleagues at work with a story about some weird or inappropriate dream I had of them the night before. But that's the only advantage I can think of.

Because most of my dreams are not funny. They are scary and disturbing and involve a lot of running from danger. This week, I had a dream that was so disturbing that I woke myself up to try to stop it only to have it continue when my head hit the pillow again. It involved my father-in-law, whom I love very much, but in my dream, I killed him and then I begged forgiveness from my husband and wept at the thought of going to jail. Very strange.

In this same dream, I repeatedly said to myself, "this is just a dream, right?" and to prove it, I found myself at the edge of a precipice over the rocky ocean. I tried to throw myself off the ledge so that I would know that it was a dream. But I couldn't do it; it felt too real; I was afraid to die.

Not sure what this all means - I'm probably expressing anxiety over any number of normal worries, but that it all manifests itself in my mind in such vivid and disturbing detail makes me a little worried about myself. I wish I didn't remember them in the morning so much as they often flash back to me during the day and give me thoughts I'd rather avoid.

"Dreams are free therapy, but you can only get appointments at night." ~Grey Livingston