Dear Annie: I am in the process of converting to Judaism. Among other things, this involves eating only kosher food. Initially, it was difficult, but I know that doing this brings me closer to understanding more of my new religion.
My problem is that most of my friends, including some Jewish friends, have an issue with my eating habits. They say eating kosher is “outdated,” or they imply that I think I’m better than they are. They actively discourage my efforts. This confuses me because I don’t scold my friends for eating cheeseburgers or pork, and I never insist on any special treatment.
Conversion is not an easy process, and I’d like the support of my friends, but it’s hard to keep my head up sometimes, especially during meals together. How do I approach this? Do I need new friends?
— Questioning in California
Dear Questioning: Maybe. Your friends think conversion will change who you are and the relationship they have with you. They feel marginalized by your new religious interest and are trying to undermine your convictions. This is all about them and their needs. If you are truly committed to conversion, you should not be so easily derailed. Please talk to your rabbi. If you attend services at a synagogue, see whether they have a social group for those in your age bracket. You are more likely to make new friends and find support there.
Dear Annie: Some years ago, my wife and I met a lovely couple while on a trip in Germany. We had such a good time together that we made arrangements for the four of us to take other trips. We kept in contact with cards, phone calls and emails. On the occasions where we traveled to their city, we had lunch with them.
We hadn’t heard from them in a while, so I sent a card that came back stamped “Deceased.” We don’t read the obituaries from their city, so we have no idea whether both of them died or one died and the other moved, or what happened.
This couple had several children who may have known of our friendship, although I never learned the children’s names. It surely would be nice if their survivors would browse through the couple’s address book and let the contacts know of their passing.
— Miss Them in Minnesota
Dear Minnesota: This is a situation that comes up whenever someone dies. The survivors do not always think of going through the deceased’s address book — written or electronic — and sending notes to those listed. But it would be a kindness to do so and something the deceased surely would have wanted. You can look online for your friends’ obituaries and any other information that might indicate how to contact one of their children. We hope you find out what happened and have the opportunity to express your condolences.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Too Many Leftovers” about people who don’t RSVP to invitations. It encouraged me to share my experience.
Our two daughters were married in the same year. The first wedding brought the same issue of the lack of receiving RSVPs. When it came to the second wedding, I had our new son-in-law use his calligraphy skills to make a nice sign that read “For those who did not RSVP.” I placed the sign on the gift table next to a jar of peanut butter, a knife and some soda crackers.
I don’t know why my wife and the mother of the groom didn’t see the humor. I have shared this with several people, and the men always think it’s hilarious.
— Father of the Brides
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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