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Mar 22 2012

Interfaith Family Bullying: When Do You Stop Fighting And Just Give Up?

By at 11:06 am
baptism

Bullied at a baptism? Really?

My father’s family is very large.

My mother’s family, like too many post-pogrom and WWII Jewish immigrant families, is very very VERY small. My recently deceased grandfather was the last of his surname.

So most of my relatives are of the non-Jewish persuasion. My mother insisted that my brother and I engage with the family to the best of our ability, so that we would “have family.” So we did. My mother put up with constant bullying, and my brother and I tried to sort through the lies (straight up lies) that our paternal grandmother spread about our mother.

Say what now? Bullying?

Yeah. Bullying. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 19 2011

Don’t Bring Your Kids to My Wedding

By at 3:25 pm

Sorry kids.

Restaurants are banning kids. And now too are brides and grooms. Let me explain…

When Alex and I got married, we hastily formed a minyan in our small New York apartment. At some point Alex offered to pull Jews off the street if not enough showed up. It was the perfect wedding for us, small and intimate.

But my mother was upset. After years of attending her friends’ kids’ weddings, buying gifts, and throwing them showers, she was being denied payback. She wanted to throw a big wedding with all the bells and whistles. Alex and I weren’t interested, but since I am an only child and the guilt was laid on thick, we agreed to a wedding reception in my hometown of Vancouver, B.C.

I could write a book about the drama that ensued. I must have cried every day for my entire first trimester (yes, I was pregnant under the chuppah) (no, not showing). Instead, I will share just one of the dilemmas we faced.

I have a cousin whom I am estranged from. Put more succinctly, he hates my guts.  I understand that he has a mental illness, but that doesn’t make his outbursts any less scary. He is physically imposing and when he screams in my face, my heart rate goes through the roof.  No one in our family does anything to protect me or reprimand him, which makes me feel very unsafe. I just don’t know if he is capable of turning violent, and I can’t count on anyone to stop him.

Since I was going to be five months pregnant at my wedding reception, I went into mama bear mode. No way was I going to allow the aforementioned cousin to be invited to the party. I could not put my unborn child at risk. And, quite frankly, I did not want someone who hated me at a celebration held in my honor. Bad joojoo. Read the rest of this entry →

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