December 8, 2010
A kosher pig?
Toward the end of summer, my friend Laurel Snyder, the editor of “Half/Life” and a handful of children’s books, published a new picture book, “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was my kind of book. And not simply because of the pictures.
“Half/LIfe” was a book about Jewish identity for the children of intermarriage. “Baxter” is about being a true outsider and learning to be Jewish.
Here’s how Heeb describes the kosher-to-be pig in its Chanukah gift guide:
The basic premise of “Baxter” is that the pig meets an observant Jew, who tells him all about celebrating Shabbat. Baxter likes the idea, and later asks someone how he can participate. “You can’t!” Of course he can’t. He’s not kosher.
The Revealer explains how defining the scope of “kosher” serves as the foundation for the book:
Those are some pretty kind words. You can read other praise-filled reviews at “Baxter’s” Facebook page.
At the risk of being self-indulgent, I in many ways identify with Baxter. (No, I’m not a pig.) I understand his interest in being Jewish, even when others tell him he can’t be. The difference between us, besides the curly little tail, is that Baxter is drawn to Judaism whereas I am attracted to Yiddishkeit (though I’m no stranger to Shabbat).
I’d also probably face a lot less resistance than Baxter if I just quit the whole Christian thing. No one is going to confuse me with not being kosher.