Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm the cousin who eats treif

I went to a Yossi Piamenta concert this summer. It was a summer festival, at the local JCC, sponsored by Lubavitch. I sat on the lawn with my kids, with about 200 others. Just as he was about to start, the announcer asked that all the men and boys move to one side, and the women and girls to the other. The request made me incredibly mad, and I did not move. Most of the people did, and I got funny looks from some. I wound up somwhere in the middle, with my kids(some of whom are girls, none of the girls over 12). My first thought was, I am not moving and seperating from my kids in this balagan. The next was, how dare he ask us to sit seperately. Now, I now for a fact that Yossi played the night before at a goyish jazz club, and I doubt there was seperate seating(have to ask Velvel about that). The JCC doesn't impose seperate seating. Obviously, the request was by the sponsoring group. There I was, the cousin who eats treif.

Its one thing to go to an event at a shul, or a wedding, and you know that you will be following the minhagim of the baalei simcha, or of the shul. I know I will sit seperate from my wife at the kollel dinner. That doesn't bother me, even though I don't hold by that hanhaga. Somehow, this guy asking everyone at what essentially was a picnic to sit seperately bothered me a whole lot. The reason I was angry was that, I was being forced to do something that I did not think was neccessary, in a situation in which I was not expecting it. And that what I held(sitting seperately wasn't neccessary for under bar/bat mitzvah age, for an outdoor concert)was considered not valid.
I guess I understand now how those who are not totally observant feel, when asked to observe kashrut, mechitza, etc. when they go to orthodox functions. HOWEVER, the difference is that I felt that I was on solid halachic ground in my situation. Obviously, and unfortunately, the definition of solid halachic ground is sometimes different for different people(there are those in the conservative movement, including women rabbis who feel they are on solid halachic ground, while those of us to the right obviously think not)
I got my revenge by not allowing my kids to sing along for the obligitory "we want mashiach now" refrain. small solace

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