Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.
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Bacon and Lightswitches
If only it were that simple. If only considering to live with a non-observant Jew and a Catholic was only about not cooking bacon in the apartment and keeping the light on in the bathroom during Shabbat.
I spent an hour on the phone with Monica gauging Annie’s love of bacon and her knowledge of the rules of the Sabbath. Even before my kosher-keeping days I’ve had an aversion to bacon. Once, while staying with a friend and her then boyfriend, I sat on top of their couch with my head hanging out the window while they made Sunday brunch: eggs and bacon. While complaining about my bacon-induced nausea, Monica confessed her distaste for shrimp after a college roommate had Costco-sized cravings. Okay. No shellfish, no pork. Check.
“But what about Shabbat?” I asked. Would Annie find it odd that I wouldn’t turn the lights on and off from sundown Friday till nightfall Saturday? “Annie is the nicest, most easy-going person. She won’t think you’re crazy,” Monica reassured me. Okay. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Until, of course, I was left with my thoughts and over a week later it dawned on me – what about Passover?! I almost screamed via text to Monica.
You see, of all the Jewish laws I’ve learned and all the practices I’ve picked up over the past 9 years, the one that I haven’t quite mastered yet, or grown to love, is Passover. The 8-day holiday where Jews all over the world give up leavened bread and take upon themselves constipation from all their matzah consumption. But if only giving up bread was enough. Jews are supposed to clean their homes from top to bottom, ridding their kitchens of pasta and breadcrumbs, and, get this – covering their stove tops in foil, among other things. Sounds crazy, right? I know, and I’m supposed to be the religious one.
I finally worked up the courage to ask Annie about her relationship with bacon. Luckily for me it’s not a love affair.
While my emotions about our living situation continue to go from excitement to anxiety, one thing remains constant: I’m eager to find out what we can learn from one another and what I can teach.