Well, I was pleasantly surprised.
I left at midnight, before the afikomen was found (basically the end of the seder). We all showed up at 7 but things didn’t get started until about 8. We started the meal portion of the seder about 10:45 or 11 (things are fuzzy to me at that point). Before going, I had discussed with a couple of people some of my anxieties, and my expectations about how long things would last. Well, it was really a lot of fun, and I only wish that things had moved a bit more quickly toward eating (I did eat before I went, but by 11 I was starving again). I met some interesting people (maybe friend potential?) and was generally pleased by the evening.
One thing I noticed was that it was assumed that I was a Jew-by-birth. I think that I go around (in Jew-y type settings anyway) believing that I’ve practically got a big sign on my forehead that says, “JEW BY CHOICE.” Well, I guess I don’t. I got a couple of comments/questions about “growing up learning Hebrew,” etc. (we had some good talks about language acquisition—one of my favorite topics to geek out on) and it really surprised me. I just said, “I didn’t grow up learning Hebrew,” and I think that was just taken to mean that my family just wasn’t very observant. I would have been happy to clarify, but the conversation went as conversations go when there’s a bunch of gregarious people in the room, and the opportunity seemed to have passed, and it didn’t seem like I needed to announce to the room, “I CONVERTED.”* There were two women there who seem to have some friend potential, so we’ll see how that goes.
All in all, I went home really happy, though really tired, and now I’m trying to finish paperwork for the job (can’t you tell how hard I’m working?). I have in my head that little voice saying, “You shouldn’t be working on the 1st day of Pesach…”** but I am exercising my freedom (it is zman heruteinu—the time of our freedom—after all) and am choosing to be Jewish in the way that works best for me right now, and not for my warden Mr. X.
Definitely a different beginning to Pesach than last year.
Chag Pesach sameach. Happy Passover.
*Um, run-on sentence much?
**The first two and last two days of Pesach/Passover are considered “chag” or “holiday” and Jews more observant than myself refrain from doing a number of things, including working.