Maybe it’s because I’m a “blended” person. But I really love hearing when two or more cultures come in contact/clash with each other, and the outcome is something greater.
This weekend, my synagogue is celebrating the culture, history, craft, and, most importantly, the FOOD, of Turkey!! (check out the program here, and, if you’re in the local area, come tomorrow, for an amazing program of events). We enjoyed the most lovely and tasty of dinners last night, with a fascinating talk by Leon Taranto about the history of Jews in Turkey. This morning, we had a lovely and touching presentation by Beyhan Çagri Trock, architect and author of “The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl”, and originator of the recipes that were used to create the glorious meal we enjoyed last night, and the “leftovers” (but they tasted perhaps even better) that provided us with a kiddush luncheon this afternoon). She spoke of her parents’ cross-cultural and cross-religious marriage, and the tolerance required for this union to succeed and flourish.
I thought of my own parents. They never quite managed that balance, but my sister and I live with the reality of the influence of both, and trying to find that delicate balance in our own lives. It’s complicated.
I was nearly brought to tears by Beyhan’s story. I find myself increasingly emotional when thinking about my poor parents, and their struggle to find themselves in their lives. Neither really lived up to their amazing potential. You often hear about people with all the odds against them who persevere, and triumph over adversity. How about those who have all the right things going for them – intelligence, relative affluence, talent – who fail miserably to live up to their potential? Not exactly the American Dream, huh? Possibly more on that later this month…
But, I really was moved by Beyhan’s description of her family – no, they didn’t live in perpetual multicultural bliss – they argued, they clashed, and yet, at her mother’s funeral, there were Jews and Muslims and Christians, and probably more, all remembering, and respecting/tolerating one another differences, and seeing the shared threads. Oh, that we could all see through the cacophonous differences to the points where we can agree….
(with daily blogging, thanks to NaBloPoMo, I may add more to this thought later).