A Return to Amsterdam: Jewish Tour and A Golden Age Uncovered 🌷🇳🇱
More from The Wandering Jew: A return to a place I visited 25 years ago, and some Jewish surprises there
So I embarked on a journey.
What’s expected of a Jew-in-training? A NewJew(TM)(R)? If I’m New-ish, are there certain obligations, expectations, and procedures I have to complete, even if I’m possibly never to do them again as a practicing Jew?
As one culturally Jewish friend remarked: Man, you’re doing more than I did.
One of the first rituals that sprang to mind was eating bread. I recall first googling away past midnight and thinking, Ah, cool, I can’t eat bread and don’t typically drink at all. And when I do, I can’t have red wine. I’ve imbibed it twice and got horrifically ill both times within minutes. Good thing I’m not Catholic!
Imagine my surprise when I learn the amazing symbolism and tradition of the Challah. Challah is the bread baked on Shabbat and other holidays. I quickly found—and witnessed later at services—that during the blessing, you must touch the loaf or others who are touching it (or someone in the chain).
It’s quite symbolic and moving. And then I’m offered bread each time and have to explain no, I’m not just an obnoxious Angeleno who won’t eat carbs, I actually get sick for a day or two after.
Of course I’m sure there’s gluten-free Challah. Would an Orthodox Jew not consider that acceptable? I’m unsure. If gluten is tradition, it’s tradition!
Stay tuned (? Tradition! ?) on this tradition and others.
Note: Written Sept 15, 2019. I’m playing catch-up from notes and articles and classes. AND YES, finally saw Fiddler on the Roof!