A strange thing happened today.
(I am back home in SF for the holidays! Sorry for the delay in updates, etc, etc.)
This morning, at breakfast, I asked my mother what she thought of my star of david ring, the one I had purchased in Israel when I went on birthright this past August.
"It's a little weird," she said. And then we got into it.
She explained that it is an overt religious symbol, associated with zionism and is the same as wearing a cross. I felt like she thought they (the birthright organizers) had "got" me and I was now a god-fearing, pro-Israel Jew. She told me she didn't raise me Jewish (my father is Jewish.) I responded that I am Jewish regardless of my a-religious upbringing because to me it is a bloodline, ancestry and heritage. I viewed the ring as a very personal memento of a trip I went on in at an important time in my life--the early stages of my unemployment, well chronicled here. I also thought of it as a re-appropriated symbol of self-identification, taking the yellow star of David Jews were required to wear during WWII and turning it into a quiet affirmation of my own identity. A tiny, personal homage to all those before me who suffered because of their Jewish identity. My mom rightly pointed out that these subtleties in meaning would be lost on anyone who noticed I was wearing a star of David.
I went shopping downtown this afternoon. I love Christmas shopping. I enjoy showing love and affection through material objects and the giddiness of a gift well-received.
We went to Anthropologie. I tried on a dress, then sat down on the corner of a display while my mother looked at the sweaters on sale. I absent-mindedly went to fiddle with the ring on my thumb and realized it was gone. I retraced my steps back to the fitting room. I asked the attendant if she had seen a ring. "No!" She said. "It wasn't your wedding ring, was it?" I assured her it was not. I am not sure what led her to that conclusion so rapidly.
I never found it. I lost the ring. It's too symbolic and bizarre for me to be upset. I joked it's because I was Christmas shopping that my ring disappeared, revoked by the Jewish powers that be.
If you are interested in a more detailed and nuanced take of my birthright trip and Judaism, it can be found here. It was the proto-version of this blog.