Just Married

Compromising Over Pizza and More

By Simi Lichtman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Jeremy and I were both raised in Modern Orthodox households, spent two years in Modern Orthodox yeshivas in Israel, and attended the flagship of Modern Orthodoxy, Yeshiva University. You’d think that it would be relatively smooth sailing when it comes to settling on the religious outlines of our household.

But even though we don’t have to decide between a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah bush during winter season, merging our separate, ingrained traditions is still a task. It comes down to details, but details make up our everyday lives, and they can’t be overlooked, especially if children are in our (very eventual) future.

Thinkstock

Jeremy has spent his life following the opinion that, unlike bread, eating pizza doesn’t require him to wash his hands and say the blessing of “hamotzi” before eating. Instead, he says “mezonot,” a no-washing prayer for a snack, and digs in. I, on the other hand, have gotten used to ordering pizza, trudging to a nearby sink, washing my hands, remaining silent until I’ve made the blessing, and only then taking a bite of my delicious slice. Considering pizza is one of our favorite foods, this is a bigger deal than you might think.

Since we started dating, I would wash for pizza, and he would wait patiently (usually) at the table until I was seated to start eating with me. Now that we’re married, though, it’s become a bit odd for us to make different blessings on our pizza.

Traditionally, in Orthodox circles, when a man and woman marry, the woman takes on the traditions of the man. This means that when certain commandments are understood differently by each spouse’s families, they do what the man was raised doing. If you’re a woman who has spent her life waiting six hours between meat and dairy, and you marry a man who waits three, you’re lucky. If the situation is reversed, well, sucks for you. Get used to never having ice cream again.

In our marriage, though, we like to think of ourselves as mixing things up a bit, especially when it comes to traditional gender roles. Jeremy likes to talk about everything. I tend to ignore problems until they’re in my face, yelling at me. He says Kiddush before the Shabbat meal, but I make the blessing over the challah, usually a man’s role. So it wasn’t obvious to us that I would simply accept his family’s standing traditions. (Except when it came to waiting between meat and dairy — I was more than happy to go from my six hours to his five.)

Aside from the fact that I would feel strange not washing for my pizza — as if I was suddenly allowed to eat McDonald’s — I like the idea that we won’t be doing the exactly same thing as each other. When Hanukkah came around and we realized our families light the candles in slightly different ways, we came to the agreement that we would alternate nights doing it his way and my way. It was an easy compromise, and I believe we can come to similar agreements as each new tradition reveals itself. And when we can’t — like with pizza — we’ll just do what makes each of us more comfortable.

Will that make things confusing for our future kids? I like to think that it will actually make them more understanding. Instead of being raised to think that one way is the right way, they’ll learn that Judaism is a religion that can be practice in multiple ways, none of them necessarily wrong. Mommy washes for pizza, and Daddy doesn’t — and that’s okay. It might make things more difficult when they have to decide what they want to do about individual traditions, but a little bit of thinking for themselves can only do them good.

You’re welcome, future children.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: traditions, pizza, marriage, Orthodox

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.