Monday, December 13, 2004
In this week's Jewish Journal, L.A. writer Jill Franklin calls for people to be sensitive to the private lives of both singles and new marrieds. But what she's really doing is calling for people to mind their own business and not impose their timelines on other people. Finally, a platform that makes sense; too bad it's fundamentally unimplementable in the Jewish community, where the culture seems to be centered on the invasion of privacy. An example from my youth: when my brothers and I got kvetchy (in those pre-blog days), my mother always used to tell us "Al Tanoodge." The Al is the negative imperative, "don't" which appears in the Ten Commandments in front of prohibitions against things like murder and adultery; tanoodge was my mother's own Hebraic/Decalogual construction of the nonexistent verb "to noodge"--the grammatical formulation indicated that it was not up for discussion: this was the Eleventh Commandment. But did we stop? No, we noodged--it's what kids do. When we became adults, we made efforts to resist this legacy of imposing your expectations on other people. As young adults in our twenties and thirties, I think my brothers and I are doing a great job of resisting the genetic predisposition. But I fully expect that when we move on to parenthood, the resistance will break down, and we'll succumb. As I've been single the longest, I fully expect to have the strongest resistance, but one day, I hope to have the opportunity to noodge my own daughter to get married. I know it will be because I want to see her happy, but I also know she won't see it that way. In the meantime, whether you're single or married, read Jill's article. And if you feel the primal urge, resist. Al Tanoodge. *To clear up any confusion, Al Tanoodge is not a town in Iraq. Just read on.