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interviewed by my brother, tevarin

1) Why do you think none of us first three (you, me, Vivi) ended up with a standard-issue Nice Jewish Girl or Boy?

I don't know how it worked with you and Vivi, but personally, I was never told "don't smoke" or "don't shoplift" or "don't eat out of the garbage." They were just things we didn't do, without having been told. We were also never specifically told to "get good grades." It just happened because it was expected of us. Common sense, I suppose. But then... dum dum dum. "Don't date anyone who isn't Jewish" "Don't go to the prom with a non-Jew" "Go to Hillel, meet Jewish boys/girls" "Don't do it, you're going to get in too deep" "Go to the JSU event" "Bad girl! No dating goyim!" It was forced upon us. I'm not saying that what we did was rebellious, but I think if it had been expected instead of forced, we would have dated more (and ended up with more) Jews than the way that it happened. Geography is also a factor. There were about two Jewish boys my age in Tallahassee. One moved away, and I dated the other. I think because of a lack of Jewish-boy experience in highschool, I was less inclined to hang out with the Jews in college, where at UF, they are less of a minority. In addition to all of THAT, I think that we were raised oxymoronically. We were taught to be open-minded (or like before, it was just assumed of us). Not only does that mean we were more likely to date those outside our Jewish background, but it means we were raised with views that aren't particularly "Jewish." Yes, Jews tend to be liberal, but in more Orthodox Judaism, feminism, darwinism, and other random isms are considered taboo. As intelligent people, we're taught to not take anything for face value, and find more out about things before we make educated decisions. Therefore we can't assume everything in the bible is correct. The three of us may or may not have shyed away from Jewish significant others because many jews do NOT believe the same as we do. It's hard to find Jews who keep kosher who are also so liberal in their thoughts, and therefore hard to find Jews that hold the same traditions splendid, but with the same open-mindedness we've come to expect in our partners.
I'd like to also point out that you're the only married one. Although I see it unlikely that Vivi and Alan would split up they have not "ended up together" nor is my 2.5 month relationship (so far) constituted as "ending up."


2) What's your opinion of Vladimir Lenin?
I'm a fan, but I don't think I know enough about the guy to make an educated statement on my opinion of him. He is attributed to one of my favorite quotes, "None are so deaf as those that won't listen."

3) What's your favorite classical myth?
I love the stories about the House of Atreus, particularly ones about Tantalus serving his son Pelops to the gods. I also have particular affinity for the Minerva/Arachne myth, simply because I worked on it so much in Latin I for my Dramatic Interpretation.

4) Do you ever "thank G-d for the moon"? Why or why not?
No. I don't think about the moon, I tend to take it for granted. Just as I don't think about how lucky I am to have water on this planet, or that I have both of my legs. It's not my job to think about those things, and unless they are taken away, I probably won't think about them much at all in my lifetime. That said, it IS my job to think about other things. While I don't thank G-d for the moon, I use moonlight to teach my students to read. Okay, I don't really, as I teach during the day under bright fluorescent lights... but you get what I'm saying. I don't thank G-d that I'm not involved directly in a war, but I do use my freedom of free speech and religion. If we spend our time thanking, we don't spend our time DOING. I'd rather DO and thank through my subconscious.

5) What's your favorite memory of our grandparents?
There are many, I'm not going to pick a favorite. I don't remember Grandpa Milton, as he died before I was born. My memories of Grandma Evelyn are limited. I liked her metal laundry cart, and putting it in front of all the mirrors near her doorway. I liked how she used to take us to Amazing Savings and buy us things. I liked swimming in her pool, and refusing her chopped liver. I also liked her radish-flowers... but I don't remember much about the woman herself. I don't have any particular memories, even. I remember that she drew on her eyebrows but I never saw her do it. I remember she had costume jewelry, but only because it became mine when she died. She never seemed very grandmotherly to me, atleast in the ways I thought a grandmother should be. And that was determined by.. Grandma. And by Grandma, I mean our mother's mother, as you already know, but never to be called "Grandma Helen"-- the idea seems ludicrous. She was just Grandma, and she was perfect. She'd help me make bead braids in the entrance to her laundry area. I'd help her cook and "accidentally" put green peppers in Uncle Marc's food. SHe'd put the magnets we made on her stove. She'd sneak me an extra piece of candy out of that glass jar she used to have. I remember picking kumquats with her, and watching her make a silly face when she ate them. In later years, I remember her going swimming with me when I went to West Palm alone when I was ten. She had just gotten rid of her breast cancer and I thought about how brave she was to be wearing a bathing suit. That same trip, I started crying in the middle of the night, out of homesickness, and she came and held me and stroked my hair until I fell asleep again. When I woke up, she hadn't moved. I liked how every meal included gefilte fish and borscht. I liked it when she asked me to put the spoons out on the table to go with all the cereals they would serve every morning for breakfast. In even later years, I remember asking her if she wanted icecream, because I knew she'd say yes, and mom would let us get some. I remember watching her slowly go downhill, which is certainly not a favorite memory, but a strong one. I remember reminding her that Grandpa wasn't there when she spoke to him at the dinner table. Grandpa I didn't know as well in the younger years. He was the guy who took my nose, but I never really knew him. When they moved to West Palm, I liked his office. I loved his office supplies, and I love dhis newspaper clippings, even though I didn't really understand them. My favorite memories of him are slightly saddened by the reasons why, but I liked him best in the year before he died, when he was trying so hard to take care of Grandma. He had never cooked, never cleaned, never been the caregiver, but I saw him watch the woman he had been married to for (54?) years deteriorate, and him doing the best he can to keep up with what he needed to do to keep her happy and comfortable. Things like making spaghetti and forgetting the sauce, and then not even realizing what he forgot, but knowing that something was missing.


Leave a comment if you would like to be interviewed.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
subjectivity
Apr. 25th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
very thoughtful and interesting post (and questions). thanks for those memories, you just made me cry. You're lucky to remember so many specific things about Grandma. and you just reminded me about Grandpa and the spaghetti - I was there with you but I'd forgotten it. That's the same day Grandma lost her fingers, though, which I remember because I wrote about it then. I have a hard time sorting out individual days or happenings from my mushy memory.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 25th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
I think the major factor in not ending up with the stereotypical "nice jewish boy/girl" is geography. If you'd grown up surrounded by other Jews, your parents wouldn't have needed to tell/force it on you. It would have been more normal. There are (as you've discovered) many wonderful and loving non-Jewish men out there.

There are lots of liberal, Kosher-keeping Jews out there. Jeff announced on our first date that he was pro-choice. :) Most modern orthodox Jews think that Darwinism is compatible with Genesis (I'm one of them; Jeff's another). The Talmud would tell you that not everything in the Torah should be taken literally, so that viewpoint is cannon.

I'm guessing that most Jews you've encountered are either very assimilated (reform/liberal conservative) or Chabad. You haven't seen much of the middle ground. That's one of the reasons I frequently thank G-d that I'm no longer in the South. (Nothing against you or other NW Floridians.)
ahuva_thinks
Apr. 25th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
oops
Sorry... That long, rambling comment was from me. I didn't realize I wasn't logged in.
thisgirliknow
Apr. 25th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: oops
I actually know many middle-of-the-road Conservative Jews-- thats generally how it is at my synagogue, and certainly how it was at Camp (Camp Ramah Darom)

It's not so much Darwinism than just in general not being adverse to science above religion.
ahuva_thinks
Apr. 26th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
Re: oops
Most of the people I know think of science as being next to religion. They deal with two different things and are usually pretty compatible. I think that science deals with the details of how G-d does things. When that doesn't fit, I remind myself that I'm neither a scientist nor a rabbi-- and even if I were, those people certainly can't claim to understand G-d or how G-d works. It's never really an issue.

It's funny... we're using terms like "liberal Conservative" and "middle of the road Conservative" but there aren't really definitions for either (at least not that I know of!) Kind of makes conversation interesting...
thisgirliknow
Apr. 26th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: oops
perhaps not definitions, but you and I have both met enough Jews to differentiate. kinf of like calling someone "dirty blonde" -- there's probably no exact description or "color" for the color, but people recognize it as a dark blonde.
tevarin
Apr. 25th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Great post, especially the grandparents part. I remember Grandma Evelyn's metal cart too, and making weird two-headed reflections in the mirrors. I liked the chopped liver. And grape "spritzers" with seltzer and fructose. And so much about Grandma and Grandpa. We should hold onto our memories, write them down, save them to tell Kalina's generation so they know where they come from. And so we know, too.
tevarin
Apr. 25th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Stereotypical Nice Jewish Spouses
Ok, modify to "not ended up with one so far" as applicable.

I agree with you and the previous poster that geography matters. In Tally we had very few Jewish peers to choose from. With a few eligible Jews and a thousand eligible Gentiles, the best fitting person is less likely to be a Jew. And blame/thank Mom and Dad for raising us just openminded enough to see non-Jews as potential mates, but not enough to feel OK about it:)

But that doesn't explain our later romances at UF, Northwestern, etc. hmm.

I agree that our religious upbringing was a little odd (Question deeply the logical basis of the commandments, but obey certain specific ones whether they make sense or not, and look down a little on people who don't.) Or maybe that's just me.
bicentennialman
Apr. 25th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
I'd like to be interviewed.
thisgirliknow
Apr. 25th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Questions
1) How do you think your life would be different if you had decided to go to a "normal" (non military-based) college?

2) Do you or do you plan to do anything with Latin/SCL/ACL in the future? Why or why not?

3) What is your most prized possession?

4)Where do you see yourself in ten years?

5)Are you generally too busy for LJ/old friends, or are you just ignoring me ;) ?
gegenschein
Apr. 26th, 2006 12:54 am (UTC)
I think you ask interesting questions, so feel free to give me some. I will try to answer them when I get a chance. :)
thisgirliknow
Apr. 26th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
Questions
1) Do you and Adrian plan on having children? ANy idea when? how many? names?

2) Did you like UCF or UF better? Why did you transfer?

3) If sales at solardust.com continue to rise to the point where you don't need to work as a teacher, would you still? Assume that Adrian's income is sedentary.

4) Have you ever thought of drastically changing your hair? (e.g., cutting it really short and dying it strawberry blonde)

5)Assuming it's available in your area, would you send your children to a Hebrew Day School? Why or why not?
(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
I'd like to be interviewed
negativeneve
Apr. 26th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC)
The last comment was me...
thisgirliknow
Apr. 26th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
1) You've been to and lived in lots of places. What is your absolute top favorite location (not city, but place within a city I guess)?

2)Has raising your sisters recently affected your thoughts on when to have children? When DO you plan to have children?

3)Is a trip to Florida forseeable in your future?

4) Defend this statement: Marriage is good for the (get this.. ) ecosystem.

5) Do you still workout every day? Or did you fall off the workout wagon after I left Gainesville-- I know I did.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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thisgirliknow
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