After my first Shabbat dinner I became intrigued with Judaism. Over the next several years I held a positive attitude towards it but didn’t make any real active steps towards exploring it in detail. For example, we’d go to Pesach and the occasional Shabbat dinner. I’d discover Israeli chocolate wafers and shakshuka. I would also be delighted to discover that pickles go with everything…
Judaism seemed to be a religion that was completely integrated into the mundane. The whole idea that you were stricter about what you ate at home then when you were out was a very unusual concept to me.
It seemed closeted, full of fear of outsiders (not unjustly), with the unusual juxtaposition of desire for peace with a proud penchant for argument. To me, coming from a home culture where emotions were not shared and any form of loud discussion seen as aggressive confrontation, this last part took some getting used to.
I of course immediately fell in love with the ritual and intense feeling of connectedness of a Shabbat dinner. It would be some years however before I would come to understand that what I felt was not a fleeting emotional response to a new relationship.