I had a blood test today. The seating area no longer has stickers on the chairs to stop people sitting next to each other, to enforce social distancing because of COVID. So it seems that even the NHS is beginning to see the pandemic as over (I was unclear on whether mask-wearing was still required; I think it was, but not everyone wore one). This is a sudden change for me from New York, where mask-wearing is still in force on public transport, although only about half the people using public transport were actually masked, and almost no one in shops.
I listened to an Orthodox Conundrum podcast on the way. I found it a little upsetting, as they kept quoting someone from a previous podcast, unfortunately the person who convinced me that I would never be fully accepted in the Orthodox community because I didn’t go to yeshivah (rabbinical seminary). I should add that she didn’t say that explicitly or intend me to think that way, but that was what I was left with from her attitude to me.
The podcast was on sex education in the frum (religious Jewish) community. They spoke on the podcast about pre-marriage classes about Jewish ethics and laws around sexuality too, which just reminded me that I need to organise that for E and myself, and that’s probably the area where I have most anxiety that E and my different religious levels could lead to tension. I guess there are differences and tensions in most/all marriages, we just know where (some) of ours will be in advance. I might try to give E a crash course in various aspects of Jewish law, such as how to heat and serve hot food on Shabbat without breaking Shabbat. I am not sure how to teach this appropriately. Possibly the book I bought for her in New York, How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household by Blu Greenberg will help. She was pleased with it, as was her mother, which I was glad about, as I was worried she might see it as interfering or trying to change her.
The podcast also made me sad that there are, to my knowledge, no yo’etzot halakhah (female advisors on Jewish law, particularly around family purity) in the UK as there are in the USA and Israel, because I think E would really benefit from being able to talk to one if she needs to rather than a male rabbi.
Other than that, I didn’t do much else other than my usual Shabbat chores and some Torah study today. I am still processing and recuperating from everything that happened in the last two weeks, and already feel a bit awkward about my aunt and uncle being here, a sense of having to share personal space, time and energy when I feel I need to be left on my own for a bit, to get my energy back and to process everything about getting married and then being separated from E by immigration law. No novel-writing, revising or submitting today, and probably not for a while.