What Does It Mean to Keep Kosher for Passover When You’re Recovering from an Eating Disorder?


I’ve always loved Passover. Okay, not always; my three-quarters Jewish, mostly atheist family and I didn’t throw seders when I was growing up. But ever since college, I’ve been coming together with friends to read the Haggadah (albeit one with a queer, feminist, decidedly modern bent), break matzah apart, dip parsley in salt water, ask the Four Questions, and cheer on the youngest at the table as they found the afikomen. When Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 presidential race on the first night of Passover, I quietly mourned, imagining what it would have been like to see someone in the White House sharing in these ancient traditions, and not just for PR points.

A major component of Passover, I learned as I grew up and graduated and made more Jewish friends—some, raised much more observant than I was—is the ritual of keeping kosher throughout the festival’s eight nights. Leavened bread is verboten, which basically means pasta, cereal, pancakes, cookies—or “carbs,” as I learned to think of these foods in middle school, when the specter diet culture first taught me to eschew them—are off-limits. I can’t help but think of the frustration that chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton recounts in her 2011 memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, upon taking a job cooking at a summer camp and finding out that many of the girls were “eight years old and already weird about wanting a piece of bread.” I felt that frustration myself, knowing it was the epitome of bullshit to deny myself the foods I loved, but feeling too seduced by the mirage of thinness to live any other way.

Anxious partial Jew that I am, I’m always looking for ways to “confirm” that I’m doing things correctly on Jewish holidays. (Seriously, just ask me about my challah game.) But as someone who has struggled with disordered eating—and, specifically, binge eating disorder—for over a decade, I’ve always known that cutting out any food, even just for a week, and for spiritual reasons, would likely lead me right back to the worlds of bingeing, compensatory calorie-counting, and obsessive exercising I’d worked so, so hard to leave behind me.

All that changed this year, probably because my relationship with my faith has changed. Even as I mourn the violence in Gaza, the ongoing Israel–Hamas war has made me feel more connected to my Jewish faith than ever. I want to yoke myself more tightly to its traditions, if only to remind myself (and the loved ones I observe Passover with) that Judaism encompasses far more than any country or ideology or military ever could. I’m no longer comfortable with my connection to the Jewish faith being merely “cultural”; I want to observe some of the customs my ancestors did, like fasting or keeping kosher on specific holidays, to tether myself to what it means to be an active, open-eyed Jew in this world, one who learns from the pain of the past while also fighting for a liberated future.

Source link

Tags: culture, Food, opinion, splitscreenimagerightfullbleed, web, wellness

You May Also Like

Artificial Intelligence Has Come for Our…Beauty Pageants?
Kylie Jenner Gave Rising Designer Supriya Lele Her Stamp of Approval


Must Read

No results found.