Monday, June 30, 2008

Can I Join the Club?

Back in my college days, I became obsessed with Judaism. It was kind of like my Australia obsession with one big difference. I actually WAS Jewish. I'll say this: Being obsessed with a culture/community you're actually part of is much less frustrating than being obsessed with one you're not a part of.

In my senior year at college, I went to Synagogue one Friday evening and met this young man. We hit it off right away and eventually ended up becoming best friends. Matthew was NOT Jewish, but was thinking of becoming Jewish. Seriously thinking about it.

There's a belief in Judaism that if someone wants to become Jewish it means they have a Jewish soul. All they're really doing is returning to where they should be.

Returning aint easy though and I felt for Matthew. I counted my lucky stars that I was BORN Jewish and did not have to go through what he went through. I don't remember exactly what it involved. Probably studying? Tests? I do remember there was some kind of awful symbolic circumcision. It involved his penis, a needle, and the rabbi observing.


And now I find myself in kind of the same boat as Matthew. I want to join something I wasn't born into. I want to be Australian. And seems becoming Jewish is easier than becoming a citizen of another country. Well, maybe not easier. I think it's that one takes more effort and the other is more about opportunity. Anyone can decide to become Jewish and then work hard at it and reach the goal. They don't need get their family to agree to it or find an employee sponsor. They don't need to make sure they're in the right career.

I mean some people like me suffer with desire while other people get Australia handed to them on their lap--whether they want it or not!

I can't just sit there and say I want to be Australian! I'm going to work hard and go for it! I have to convince my husband and my son that we should do this. I have to find one of us a job that is needed in Australia. We have to sell a house. We have to find a new home for our cats.

We'd have to dodge guilt trips and tears from the extended family. Although a person converting to Judaism probably has to face the same.

Becoming Australian seems way out of my grasp most of the time. Still, I have fantasies about it. I took the Australian Citizenship test multiple times online and passed with damn good scores. I get all teary-eyed when I read the Australian Citizenship pledge.

From this time forward,

I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,

Whose democratic beliefs I share,

Whose rights and liberties I respect,

And whose laws I will uphold and obey.

My fantasy of reciting this usually includes Kevin Rudd (Australian Prime Minister) standing before me as I say it.

Then the fantasy turns into a bit of a nightmare because I expect Rudd to say Welcome to the family, Dina. I'm ready for the big hug....or handshake. But then he says "You have one more test to pass."

And they bring out the Vegemite.

Rudd says. Let's make sure you're a TRUE Australian.

I start to tremble. I'm sweating.

Rudd says. No worries, mate. The trick is to spread it on thinly. But I know his definition of thin will be much different than my definition.

I say. I passed the written exam. I know so much about Australia. Isn't that enough?

Rudd says. Nope.

Can't I eat a Tim Tam instead?

Well, I guess eating Vegemite is much better than anything involving a needle and penis.

Who knows what will happen in the future?

I might hopefully one day have to change the name of this blog The Girl Who Became Australian.

Or seeing how the whole Jewish-thing turned out-- I couldn't care less about Judaism now. Maybe that's what will happen with Australia. Maybe I'll move on to something new.

Maybe Islam! This blog could one day become The Girl Who Loved Allah.

Oh! Then my parents would REALLY kill me!!!!