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We did it! And so did I!

Ethan here, and the wedding is over!

We made it through an absolutely amazing weekend of festivities, had a beautiful ceremony and shared in so much love and joy that we are positively bursting.

Now that it is all over I am reflecting on some of the choices we made as a couple and myself as an individual regarding kashrut, Jewish dietary law.

A significant portion of my friends and family keep kosher to one extent or another, so we knew from the start that we had to accommodate that for all meals.  We made the simple choice for the reception to go vegetarian because our venue had non-kosher in-house catering.  This turned out great since they had superb chefs who were able to come up with three unique, creative and tasty entree options for guests to choose from.

I, however, am a meat lover so we managed to get a kosher caterer for both a Shabbat dinner (for the family that doesn’t travel on the Sabbath) and the rehearsal dinner on Saturday night.  It wasn’t easy to find one that was affordable because kosher is such a rare and expensive commodity, but in the end we were very happy with the results and Mia was always willing to accommodate these needs and take on these costs without hesitation or objection.  Did I land a good one or what?

This is all by way of leading into the longer term thought processes about what to do as we move forward sharing a home where one of us was brought up keeping kosher and the other most definitely was not.

I have long internally debated how kosher I want to be.  Many people over the years have been asked by me about their practices and their reasoning behind it.  And in general the most compelling of reasons I’ve received for the practice in the modern era is the tying together of a community.  This is important to me, but my community isn’t just Jewish.  If I keep too strictly to the rules I start excluding people from my community since I won’t be able to eat in their homes and they won’t be able to bring food into mine.  Three quarters of our wedding party would be excluded if I kept to the extremes of kashrut.  That’s way further than I could ever go.  I want to maintain my identity, but also my flexibility.

It has been years since I’ve kept separate dishes for meat and dairy (though I separate for Passover), since that, to me, is just a silly anachronism.  But the other limitations are harder for me to let go, so I’m starting an experiment to see what happens and maybe in a few weeks I’ll have more to say.  I decided that for our honeymoon (in France, conveniently enough) I am taking an official kashrut hiatus.

This adventure has already begun as we marked the start of honeymoon with a pre-mini-moon for a night in Phoenix before returning to Boston for a week before leaving for France.  That night, at dinner, we were given a pair of complimentary seared scallops (with pancetta in the sauce too).  I hadn’t planned on starting yet, but we had declared this night part of the honeymoon so I sat and agonized for a minute or two.  And then, for the first time in my life (barring the accidental ham and cheese once when I was 5), I consciously and deliberately chose to eat the flesh of not one, but two un-kosher animals.

I’m not dead yet, but I’m still figuring out how I feel and how this will affect the life Mia and I are now building together.  WIsh me luck as the experiment continues.

Mia Howard Tavan