ritual

Seders go better if you have substantial food for karpas

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
One of the things that’s hardest about Seders is how long they can be. I pretty quickly become exhausted and by that time I haven’t eaten anything of the meal yet. Advice?

realsocialskills said:

One thing I advise seder leaders to do is to use substantial food for karpas instead of just having parsley dipped in salt water. I do that when I lead seders, and I’ve found that it makes for a much better discussion. People don’t tend to have good conversations when they’re hungry and exhausted, and making food available makes a huge difference. 

The point of karpas was originally to dip food in other food. This was apparently not a normal thing to do at that point in the meal, so it was supposed to be unusual and get the kids to ask questions. 

For some reason, that got reduced down to dipping parsley in salt water in a lot of communities. What I do is include more substantial kinds of dip and foods that can be dipped. (Eg: chips and dip, strawberries and chocolate syrup, etc. I know someone who sometimes uses fries and ketchup for karpas too.).

Is there a way you could make that happen at the seders you go to? Might whoever is in charge be open to that?  I’ve found that a lot of people dislike the way that the storytelling part drags on because everyone gets hungry and grumpy, and only do it that way because they don’t know there’s an alternative.

If you’re concerned with the halakhic or ritual structure of the seder, you shouldn’t eat matzah/matzah crackers and haroset until later in the meal. Other dipping stuff should be fine though.

One advantage to seder stuff is — if people will think it’s weird and question it, that’s actually a good thing! Because seders are actually supposed to involve doing weird things to get people to ask questions. So if someone says “but people will think it’s weird”, sometimes you can successfully convince them that that’s a good thing and not a bad thing by saying “then they will ask questions and we’ll be able to have a good conversation about it.”

If you can’t do that, might it be possible to sneak off for a few minutes and discreetly eat a snack?  

tl;dr The storytelling part of the seder can get very unpleasant when everyone is hungry and grumpy. One solution to this is to make substantial food available during the karpas, instead of just parsley and salt water, and then leave it on the table during the storytelling. That tends to make for a much more pleasant discussion.

Mobility impairment and worship

anonymous asked:
Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to impossible to rise and kneel during the Mass. Simply not rising or kneeling and not doing anything alternative is an option, but that leaves her out of the collective show of devotion, in which she’d like to participate.
 

realsocialskills said:

On the communal level, it can help if whoever is leading the services says something like “please rise/kneel in body or spirit” to acknowledge the participation of people who can’t or shouldn’t kneel or rise.

I’m not sure about on the individual level, what someone can do to symbolize their intentions. I suspect that it depends a lot on the culture.

I wonder if it would work to lean forward when people kneel, and to sit up particularly straight when people stand? Then she would be moving in at least somewhat the same direction. I don’t know if that would have the symbolic weight that she wants it to have, though.

Are any of y’all Catholics with mobility impairments? Do you have ways you’ve found to demonstrate respect during the Mass when others stand or kneel?

Have any of y’all who are from any religious background in which body positioning you can’t do safely is part of your tradition found alternative symbolism that works for you?

nyxbyproxy:

evred-harvaldar:

Mobility impairment and worship

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel?…

nyxbyproxy said:

At my Catholic church, it was generally accepted that the old, pregnant, and sick were not bound to perform tasks that were too physically taxing for them. Bowing your head and closing your eyes is enough.

Tangentially related, this is also true for Russian Orthodox services. If you are incapable of standing up for the entire service for health reasons, there is a bench in the back.

evred-harvaldar:

Mobility impairment and worship

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to…

evred-harvaldar said:

Catholic rising and kneeling is usually not indicated by a call to do so by the priest - it’s just cues in the mass itself.

I actually recently had a similar problem for temporary reasons; standing through a whole mass is pretty much impossible for me now, much less kneeling. I think a full bow or a bow of the head is generally a way to show prayerful thought, even when already kneeling. Or maybe additionally folding your hands, closing your eyes (though this is probably less appropriate during the consecration). If everyone else is kneeling, I often see the seated lean forward and rest their arms on the pew ahead like those kneeling do. Basically gestures thar communicate bodily that you’re also in prayer.

That said, in my experience, not moving with the rest of the assembly can be a little self conscious making. But in all the parishes I’m familiar with (which is a lot of parishes) it’s very normal to have people not participating in the kneeling and the like. I’m not sure if your friend is worried about perception at all, but if so it isn’t the sort of thing others tend to notice much or judge for.

occoris:

Mobility impairment and worship

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to…
occoris said:
I was raised catholic and generally what we would do if we weren’t feel in it that day (at least for kneeling- mom would usually be okay for standing up but kneeling was tough) is we’d grasp our hands together and lean forward and place them over the pew in front of us and bow our heads, and that seemed to work okay, because it would put our hands/heads more on the same plane with everyone else who was kneeling. I’m not sure how to handle standing, though!

High school graduation

anonymous asked:
My daughter graduates from high school in a month. She has Aspergers and had many challenges but managed to do well academically. However, she didn’t feel that the school dealt well with her. She is happy to close the door on that part of her life and wants to do it without ceremony. I get it. My husband and I would like to see her walk at graduation but are willing to accept her not attending the ceremony. However, she has said she will go if we ask her to. Should we ask or leave it alone?
 

realsocialskills said:

I think that the graduation ceremony probably has a very different symbolic meaning for you than it does for your daughter.

I think that, for you, it is probably like this:

  • As her parents, you are very proud of her accomplishment in doing well in high school in a difficult situation
  • You want to celebrate that
  • For you, seeing her walk at graduation is a profound symbol of what she has accomplished and how proud you are of her

I think for her, it is probably like this:

  • High school was a bad experience for her
  • Going to graduation feels like a celebration of the school and her relationship with the school
  • She doesn’t feel that the school treated her well, so she doesn’t want to celebrate with the school

If I’m reading the situation and the symbolic meanings it’s taking for all of you correctly, I don’t think that it is a good idea to ask your daughter to go to the ceremony for your sake. I don’t think that it’s good to push her into something that, for her, feels like celebrating people treating her badly.

But, deciding not to go to the graduation ceremony doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate your daughter’s accomplishments. You can likely find a form of celebration that would suit all of you, for instance:

  • Having a graduation party for your daughter and her friends
  • Having a family dinner at a restaurant your daughter likes
  • Buying a symbolic present (eg: something related to your daughter’s interests, or something she will use in the next phase of her life)
  • Taking a trip together
  • Baking a cake
  • Writing a story or a poem
  • Or however else your family celebrates milestones

Does that seem like a possible solution? Do any of y'all have suggestions?