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Are my non-Jewish in-laws appropriating Jewish culture and practices?

Hello all. 🙂 I just want to preface this by admitting that I know very little about Judaism, so I do hope that nothing I write is out of line and it’s really not my intention if anything comes across inappropriately. And apologies for the length.

I wanted to get a Jewish perspective on my husband’s family, as I feel as though they are kind of appropriating Jewish culture and its traditions. And I know that’s a buzzword that gets thrown around and while I’m not necessarily offended on behalf of, what they’re doing just doesn’t sit right with me. Plus what else am I meant to do with a degree in anthropology and history? Haha, I’ll get into it now…

My husband’s family are Seventh-Day Adventists who, after he moved out, started to pick up random Jewish holidays in addition to becoming much stricter in their faith and parenting. Two of his sisters moved in with us recently, as their lease was coming to an end, so we’re getting a much better glimpse at their religion than we previously did.

My curiosity was sparked on Yom Kippur when Sarah (21F, fake names) asked Mary (25F) if she was able to do the dishes, arguing that it counts as work. My husband and I were a bit baffled because we didn’t know anything about the day, and I was mulling over the meaning of work when I started looking into this Yom Kippur. And I agree, she probably shouldn’t have done the dishes, but my reasoning was very different: Firstly, it could fall under taking control over your environment, and secondly because it blurs into the rule about bathing. But Sarah’s only point was “work” didn’t really sit right with me, especially after finding that they do very little housework and bicker about who does dishes all the time.

Additionally, they didn’t wear white, and the parents asked if they wanted to be picked up to spend the day with them. The headline article when you Google Yom Kippur explains you’ll see a lot of bikes on the road because driving isn’t allowed… But I digress. 🙂

Now this recent Rosh Chodesh has me more seriously questioning whether what they’re doing is okay. They spent the day at their parents sewing dresses for an upcoming Victorian Fair.

I finally decided to Google what I’ve been calling Moon Day because again this topic of the meaning of work comes up. They’ve spent a Rosh Chodesh at our house once and been unable to help me with weekend chores because it’s work, and they’re meant to spend the day in devotion and prayer, etc. … but they were able to sew dresses?

I’m sure you all know where my curious Googling led me, but of course the one thing women don’t do on Rosh Chodesh is what they did.

I know it seems like a nothing issue that has nothing to do with me, but it just doesn’t seem right to pick and choose random parts of another people’s religion and then warp them to suit your own tastes. Jewish people have fought hard to have their Holidays recognised and here they are celebrating them without really understanding their significance.

I’d love to hear your insight into whether I’m just being a bit of a dick or if I’m justified in my uncomfortable feelings. Thanks for your time.

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