First, the rules again:
- Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
- I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
- You'll update your journal with my five questions and your five answers.
- You'll include this explanation.
- You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.
Now for the interview!
1. What has been your biggest challenge on your journey towards Observant Judaism?
There have certainly been a lot of *major* changes in my life since starting this journey, but I've viewed very few of the changes as challenges. I've found *most* of the changes rewarding. If I'd answered you back when you first asked this question, I'd have said that the biggest challenge was covering my hair. I don't think that any more; it's just something I do.
The biggest challenge, I've found, is relating to people "who knew me when..." It's difficult to explain to old friends, or friends of the family, or even my family directly why I can't go eat at Red Lobster with them, and how I'd really like to go to that Saturday afternoon concert, but must decline. It's a balancing act. I know that there are simply people who don't, and won't, "get it," but there are others who have been intensely interested and spent a significant amount of time and energy learning how they can accommodate me. It's a difficult thing because I don't like people to have to accommodate me; I'm accustomed to being the accommodating one.
But all in all, I really have been very lucky. I've faced very few stumbling blocks, very few points at which I've viewed my journey as a difficult one, and mostly support from those around me.
2. Describe your ideal Shabbat or holiday meal (better be careful, you might have guests lining up at the door ;-)).
The food or the atmosphere or the guests at the table? Since you didn't specify, I think I'll tackle all of them.
First, ideally I'd have started cooking at least by Thursday for shabbos) and I'd also have all day Friday off. By the way, since we're in my ideal world, my house is already spotless, so no need to waste time cleaning or anything silly like that.
Ideally, we would have 2-4 guests. I enjoy having people over, but it's also nice to control the number so that I can spend time talking intimately with all of them. Dinner itself would be replete with zemiros (songs) and lively conversation. The wine would be a delightfully dry red, but I'd also keep a sweet white out for those who prefer a lighter wine (ahem--Jeanne!) The Challah would be fresh baked and still warm from the oven. "Shalom Aleichem" would be sung to my favorite tune that I haven't quite gotten the hang of, so I'll just listen, thank you very much. ;)
The menu itself would start with an appetizer course. Fish and several pareve salads (green salad, hummus, potato salad, etc) and maybe some stuffed mushrooms or some such thing. I think that for fish, I'd do the fried gefilte fish patties in tomato sauce. But that depends on whether any of my many tomato-phobic friends were at dinner.
Then a soup course. If it's a holiday, then definitely matzoh ball soup. Otherwise, perhaps something less ordinary, like carrot soup (don't scoff...I've got an amazing recipe!)
And then, mmm... the main course. Garlic roasted chicken with rosemary, I think. Or brisket. If I've got 4-6 people over, maybe both. That will keep everyone happy. The chicken will be a beautiful golden brown (with crispy skin for a certain someone I know who has a secret passion for chicken skin). I'll serve it with green beans (they keep better than broccoli), and oh yes, potatoes. Mash the potatoes and then mix in caramelized onions...it's like heaven. Absolute heaven. Also perhaps some marinated tomato slices for some color. Everything, of course, presented on fine china (yeah, remember we're in my IDEAL world here...in my IDEAL world my china isn't still in storage!).
For dessert, I'll have made some brilliant confection, but I've got to leave something to keep you guessing. We'll have tea (but seth will have instant coffee, because he hates tea), and some more conversation before benching.
Since this is my ideal meal, I'll point out that it takes place in the winter time. Summer Shabbos just aren't the same for me. They start so much later that I'm exhausted by the time the food hits the table. Also, with all this hot food, I want it to be chilly outside. My guests will come in from the cold into a warm inviting house full of the sweet smells of shabbos, ready for a savory, scrumptuous meal. And they won't be disappointed. Finally, in my ideal world, I'll always have 2 extra places set so that I can always invite someone at the last minute, or someone can know that they're always welcome to stop by without calling. (I always make too much food anyway)
3. If you had access to a working transporter a la Star Trek, but it could only be used to visit one place in the world (but you could go there any time you wanted), where would it be and why?
Scotland. No, wait! Israel. No, Scotland! Geez, this is hard. Well, I suppose I'll pick Scotland. After I get there, I can always take a plane to Israel, right? Scotland because I was born there and it's so amazing. Every time you turn your head, you're looking into a post-card perfect view. It's so serene to have that kind of beauty all around. Who could ask for more? (Okay, well, ready access to kosher meat would be nice, but I can live on lettuce while I'm there!)
4. Share something fun/enjoyable you did in the last month.
So now I'm wondering whether I should think back to when you originally asked this question or if I should be thinking about the present. Well, quickly, if I go back to August when you asked the question, the fun thing I did was take a road trip to NY to buy my sheitel. I went with Bea and Nechama and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience (hey, bea...where's that camera we bought? I've gotta develop those pictures!)
But in the last month now that I'm answering said question... Helping Ellen's kids build their sukkah (which I would have been staying in had I not gotten sick). Building a sukkah is a truly amazing experience for me every time. I didn't do a lot, I didn't stick around that long, but I felt so darned useful and even somewhat skilled. Plus, I adore Ellen's kids, so it was a lot of fun to hang out with them. :)
5. You have the opportunity to have a free session with a renowned and legitimate psychic medium (they talk to dead people). Would you go? Why or why not?
No, actually, I wouldn't. I'm comfortable in my knowledge that my loved ones are at peace; I know that they are still with me in spirit if not in body. I'd rather preserve my memory of their life than dwell on the fact of their death.