A new packing dilemma has presented itself: which of our religious objects should we bring with us to Bangalore?
We'll be in India for Hanukkah, Purim, Pesach, and of course Shabbos. Many Shabboses. Hanukkah we've settled- the kids each have a hanukkiah with their name on it, and we're bringing both of those. I even bought candles for them in advance (normally we buy our Hanukkah candles about 3 days before the holiday begins)! They're already packed, wrapped up in some cloth diapers I'm bringing for a woman I met on Rav who wants to cloth diaper her baby.
Pesach is also (sadly) a no brainer, as we simply do not have the luggage space to bring our gorgeous seder plate, matzo box etc. I love them so much, and will miss seeing them at the holiday this year. And there's nothing particular we need to bring for Purim, so that's easy too.
The hard part is Shabbos. We love Shabbos, and love the beautiful objects that we use to celebrate the day.
We're bringing a mezuzah, too, of course. The one we have on our front door has been at the front door of every house that Robert and I have lived in together, and I was very tempted to take it (and put up another in its place while we're gone). However, I believe we're going to take this one instead. It was made by a friend of mine, and I think it will be joyful to see it on the doorpost of our home in Bangalore.
We use these objects on a regular basis to constantly construct our identity, examine our choices, and reinforce our values. It's hard to think of leaving any of them behind, but I'm looking forward to using some of them (and finding others) to create a Jewish home for our family in a new world, just as Jews have always done. And at the same time I am incredibly grateful that we are making this move because we want to, and not because we fear for our lives, as so many Jews (including my own family) have been forced to do. Still, it is the transportable nature of our rituals, our beliefs, and our selves that has allowed us survive and thrive in communities around the world. When we became Jews on the move, we also became the People of the Book.