Tuesday, March 26, 2013

That Time of Year...Again

            It’s that time of year again.  Of course, prom is a thing of the past, although I’m sure you all remember Mark’s fateful post last spring.  Apparently this guy had the same idea, asking Kate Upton to prom on YouTube.
Anyway, in lieu of Senior Prom, this year I’m faced with finding a date for formal.  The trip down to Panama City Beach, FL for the weekend with the Fraternity is slightly more of a commitment for a girl, but I’m sure I’ll find someone who wants (or at least is willing) to spend a couple of days with me.  But as the event draws nearer, I’ve yet to find a counterpart.  So, here’s your opportunity to be the lucky lady who joins me.
A little bit about myself:
I’m 5’6” (maybe 5’5” ¾ but who’s counting?) and Jewish, currently pledging the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.  I was more than once mocked for my Justin Bieber flow, but rest assured, I finally got a haircut.  I have beautiful blue eyes…or maybe they’re green…I’m colorblind.  Believe it or not, I played Varsity basketball in high school, though I’d rather not share my statistics.  If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve realized that I love to write.  I’ve also tried my hand at singing once or twice—only to be outshined by my slightly more talented sister.  I think I’m pretty funny, but not in the joke-telling sort of way.  I have a way of making people laugh, although sometimes I wonder if that’s actually a good thing.  I love to have a good time—I’m often the first one dancing and the last one standing at a party.
But, don’t worry, Isabel Rickman, I’m not going to ask someone to formal on the blog.  The truth is I haven’t the slightest idea whom I should ask.  That said, if there are any women who are interested in a few days on the beach with Jake Max (April 12-14), I’d be delighted to hear from you.


            Annually, more people attend a Passover Seder than any other Jewish event.  While the week afterwards spent without bread products is less than enjoyable at best, the Seder itself is, hands down, my favorite religious tradition.  For any non-Jews reading this, the Seder is a gathering that amongst other things requires all participants to retell the story of the Exodus, eat from a variety of unusual dishes, and consume the obligatory 4 cups of wine.  The result is hours of reading, nibbling, singing, eating, explaining, and some would say most importantly, drinking.
            My first 17 Passovers were all celebrated at home, in Baltimore.  Every year we’d do the first night at my house and the second at my uncle’s.  Cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles all gathered together, pretending to listen to my dad’s shpiel, and praying to avoid reading the long paragraphs.  My sister and I used to reenact the ten plagues throwing fake frogs across the room and painting our faces with boils.
            Last night, for the first time in my life, I celebrated Passover outside of Pikesville, without my family (of course, I still made my appearance at our Seder for a brief moment on Facetime).  Meanwhile, here in Atlanta, a couple of friends and I made the trip to the Chabad house to capitalize on the free brisket and wine.
            The environment certainly wasn’t the same as at home.  A tent full of about 100 college kids dwarfed my family, which Maxes out at about 20 (I couldn’t resist).  We listened to the Rabbi speak, read from the Haggadah, and recited all of the required prayers.  We did the ritual washing of the hands, sang Dayenu (my grandmother’s favorite), and finally, the five-course meal was served.  And as I sat there and took in the scene, the Rabbi made a comment that I won’t forget.  He noted that maybe Judaism has changed quite a bit over time; I certainly don’t pray every day, or keep Kosher, or follow the laws of the Sabbath.  Nevertheless, the fact that last night, 3000 years later, we were all sitting in that room is proof enough for me of the strength of Judaism.
            I’m not particularly religious, and I try not to let my lineage have a huge effect on the people I associate with.  But, it’s times like last night that make me remember why I’m proud to be a Jew.  There were at least a dozen different fraternities, sororities, clubs, societies, and other organizations represented at Chabad, yet for one evening we all came together.  That sense of community is something that I hardly find at Emory.
            Of course, there will always be the people who argue that religion is stupid and a God couldn’t possibly exist.  There are those who laugh at the fact that people daily, spend hours trying to interpret a document composed thousands of years ago.  I say, go ahead, mock religion all you want, but to mock the atmosphere of last night—the inherent sense of family and community—I will never understand.  The Jewish people have stuck together for thousands of years, and we’re still here, so we must be doing something right.