But this week, my husband asked to be written out of the picture. When waiting until the last minute for an essay writing assignment for a class turned him and our love life into my guinea pig, I was sure that he would be uncomfortable. He was. But that was just the tip of the pointy iceberg that would come between us. He asked me to work him out of even the briefest cameos he makes in my latest string of personal essays. And then the clincher was when we started talking about what the things I write say about him, me and us.
When I received the book deal offer, I only half-smiled. I was excited about being in print. Even excited to tell the story of my conversion, though I never imagined that would be what my first book about. But when I thought about my husband’s role in all this book mess, I just didn’t see how writing a book about my life would do my husband’s future career as a rabbi any good.
From what I’ve learned about rabbis and rebbetzins in my short Jewish life, they’re all a little mysterious. They’re our very own stars of our Jewish People magazine. Congregants lurk around ready to catch the Rabbi and the Missus acting “just like us” and then ponder what they think about running into the Rabbi walking his chihuahua or the Missus getting her expensive haircuts. I’ve heard people talk about Britney’s mental health issues in the same tone they’ve discussed whether the rabbi’s wife covers her hair or how the rabbi likes to forgo a tie for the casual look. You know, that well it’s not like we’re talking about real people so we can say whatever we want about them tone. So it’s lashon hara…so what?
Even without a blog, my very own website, without handfuls of magazine pitches and personal essays and a book to write, can you imagine me as the oh-so-mysterious Jackie O mixed with Audrey Hepburn Rebbetzin? Sure, I’ve grown since the days when I introduced myself in energetic details rants that ensured you could at least walk away to write a short biographical piece about my life. But what I’ve grown up to be a writer. And writing about what I know means writing about me, my skewed little view of the world, my twisted little piece of the world and the people in it. Cue the tension.