Hilarie Pitman Pozesky is a writer of personal essays and is crafting a memoir about how uncovering one’s family history can be liberating. She’s a woman with an ardent urban sensibility, who happens to come from a long line of pioneers and farmers. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, two goofy sons and her goldendoodle/muse, Ruby. Visit her website at http://www.hilariepozesky.com.
I hadn’t heard of Gertrude Stein when I came across Janet Malcom's “New Yorker” article about her 15 years ago. It examined how she and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, remained safe in…Nazi-occupied France through World War II despite being Jewish-American lesbians. At the time, I had just converted to Judaism. Initially, I was surprised that I didn’t know Stein. In retrospect, it is surprising that I barely registered the article’s thesis—the women were protected by a Nazi collaborator. There is so much to admire about Stein.… >> Read More
This year I’m working toward a particular type of forgiveness for the High Holidays. I am too hard on myself for not being born a Jew.
As a convert, it’s inevitable that now and then you will…get caught red-handed. Something comes up and it’s uncomfortably clear to all parties involved. There are certain facts, for me usually regarding anti-Semitism, that those born Jewish seem to know by osmosis—Hugo Boss manufactured Nazi uniforms, Deutsche Bank lent Hitler the money to construct Auschwitz, etc. And then there’s some kind of codified list of… >> Read More
While I’m a modern woman, I find the age-old—dare I say, ancient—traditions have deepened my spirituality the most. My favorite is the mikveh, the traditional Jewish communal bath where ritual…purifications are performed. I will admit, the mikveh is an acquired taste. And I do take issue with some traditional aspects of it, such as the labeling of women as unclean during parts of their cycle. I physically shook with fear during the car ride to my first visit to the mikveh 14 years ago.… >> Read More
I’ll be honest, it’s not the kashering of the kitchen or locating the seder plate or the scads of relatives flying into town that causes me stress pre-Passover. Nope. It’s the procuring of the…shank bone, the anchor of seder plates everywhere. For years, I thought it was just me, as I’m a convert and didn’t grow up celebrating Passover. Yet a recent poll of seder-hosting friends indicates I’m not the only one. I’m guessing we don’t hear about this problem because most of us attend someone else’s seder.… >> Read More
Growing up deep in the rural, isolated Midwest, it’s hard to say what was more foreign to me--Judaism or the ever-elegant, art-filled Paris. Now that I’m middle-aged and living in a big city,…I’m well acquainted with both. I first visited Paris on my honeymoon. I was a new convert to Judaism, having completed my study just months before. Seeing Paris’ Museum of Jewish Art and History was as important as visiting the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. I’d never experienced such intense security. An uneasy feeling from… >> Read More