Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Outsider’s Glimpse of Our Family’s Madness

One of my western Canadian cousins stopped by for lunch at my mother’s house on the last day of Pesach.  This is the son of my father’s brother, who died last year.  I don’t know this branch of the family well – although they started out quite close to us in Scarborough, they gradually moved farther away:  out to Whitby, Waterloo, and eventually, British Columbia.  My parents visited a few times, and both of my sisters have spent time in BC, so that leaves me being the only one who’s had nearly zero contact since they left Ontario.

Even when they lived here, they were always much closer with the other side of the family, which is Finnish and culturally very different from my own.  Visiting their family often felt like venturing into a foreign country, even though it was only 15 minutes away – their home was full of exotic touches:  a spider monkey, a microwave, wall-sized panoramic wallpaper, take-out submarine sandwiches.  I never felt like we were estranged, exactly… but we didn’t spend much time there.  I always sensed my mother didn’t approve.

In any event, my cousin was at the table on Shabbos, the last day of Pesach, taking pictures and videotaping our chaotically noisy family scene.  At one point, I asked him not to take pictures of my family on Shabbos.  I thought I said it pretty nicely, but one of the kids said it sounded nasty anyway.  YM decided he was davka going to stand in front and ham it up for the camera – anything to stick it to me and my oppressive religious traditions, right?  Blah.  :-(

I do approve of the fact that he’s muted the sound during the bentsching… so you can’t actually hear us singing, which is probably for the best!

How would you handle it if someone wanted to take your picture on Shabbos or Yom Tov?

6 comments:

  1. Whenever its happened to us we've simply asked them not to and they stop. I've never had them refuse but wouldn't hesitate to insist especially if it were in my home.

    Dh has told his brother to put the cell phone away or leave when he was texting and checking basketball scores on Shabbat.

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  2. It's a problem. Some people are more understanding than others.

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  3. Im new to your site, but found this article offensive. Your relatives had no respect for your family and your traditions. As soon as you saw the video recorder you might have said something. I wasnt there so I am not judging-
    I thought I had seen everything- cell phones, invited guests parking in my driveway instead of around the corner, but taping a pesach meal on shabbat- that takes the cake.
    Looks like a good day was had by all anyway. Who knows what that meal will mean to them in the future- at least they had the mitzva of eating kosher food!

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  4. m new to your site, but found this article offensive. Your relatives had no respect for your family and your traditions. As soon as you saw the video recorder you might have said something. I wasnt there so I am not judging-
    I thought I had seen everything- cell phones, invited guests parking in my driveway instead of around the corner, but taping a pesach meal on shabbat- that takes the cake.
    Looks like a good day was had by all anyway. Who knows what that meal will mean to them in the future- at least they had the mitzva of eating kosher food!

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  5. @classymom - #1, tinok shenishba; as when my husband's family came from Ottawa and started taking pictures of the kids on Shabbos, I honestly believe they have no idea. Raised apart from any significant Jewish community, how could they possibly have known???

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  6. oops... incomplete thought, but also, #2, there is a safek as to whether hilchos Shabbos / Yom Tov apply in this situation to begin with. 'Nuff said.

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