Monday, March 06, 2006

The Jewish Nation and Me, Part 1: Seder Barbie

Oi! You must watch this film! (It received honorable mention at Sundance this year.)

I got my first Barbie in first grade. She had a purple-sequined gown with a versatile silk wrap that I could twist behind her head or around her plastic arms. Marianne, the daughter of the pastor of the church that had started our little Christian school, gave her to me. She was in second grade. Josh was in second grade. Josh could shoot baskets and make people laugh, and when I overheard him in the lunch line for Frito pies say that he liked girls with ponytails, I wore a ponytail for the rest of the year. Barbie's hair got put in a ponytail, too.

Seven years ago, I found out I was Jewish. Well, an eighth Jewish anyway. My dad's grandmother on his mother's side had fled Germany and changed her name. She changed her name and married my great-grandfather. Their name was Diabell. So Grandma Jean is half-Jewish, my dad is a quarter-Jew, and my brother and I share the rights and privileges of the eighth-Jewish.

I packed up Barbie and her friends a few years ago. Since first grade we had each learned to play tennis, joined a rock band, and collected a few boyfriends. I remembered huddling with them in the bottom of my closet while hurricanes and tornadoes ravaged us. Her legs were sticky and discolored. Her hair was stiff, and stayed pulled back even after I had untangled the ponytail holder. I baby-powdered each leg of each doll and dressed them in their favorite outfits before closing the cardboard flaps again.

As a child, I enjoyed imagining the
total destruction of my beloved Barbie collection. My Barbies liked their plastic men with dark hair. I grew up in the southern midwest United States. I went to my first Passover meal last year and didn't stay for the whole thing. I have always liked my dad's pork chops--medium-well, still juicy with seasoned salt.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." --I Samuel 16:7
I am a bearer of the image of God's son. I am a descendant of royalty and a rich heritage. I am a princess dressed in white, twirling beneath the snowflakes that fall today in Kandern. I am beloved and caressed. I can take my hair out of its ponytail. For my Abba, my beautiful One, is pursuing my heart and has captured me.