by Shala Erlich

A Kashrut of Families

Keeping divorced parents apart

There was almost always a plane flight between my two families. The five hour flight from coast to coast was like the interval between a meat meal and a milk one, in which I absorbed nothing but my own company and the superficial attentions of the stewardesses. I stitched away at embroidery or read straight through The Yellow Book of Fairy-tales. Sometimes, inhaling the synthetic, cigarette-tinged air, stared through the crystals on the window at the wing and sky, avoiding the nauseating, late-seventies, pink and orange upholstery on the seat in front of me. It was good to have this self-contained zone to myself I enjoyed a certain purity and privacy as I traveled solo between parents who, on the rare occasions they met face to face, radiated such restrained hostility that I wasn’t sure if they were the kind of chemicals that couldn’t mix or the kind that, if they touched, would leap together, causing a terrifying explosion.

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The articles in this special section:

A Kashrut of Families

by Shala Erlich

Erlich struggles with her own elaborate rules, like separating milk and meat in a kosher kitchen, for how to make sure there’s minimal mingling. Her own wedding is the litmus test for how well she’s doing.

A “Happy” Divorce

by Ilana Kramer

Recalling strife-free “family” vacations with both her (not-yet-remarried) parents, Kramer may be the embodiment of the kid who is blissfully blind to the conflicts that fractured the family in the first place. Then her mom weighs in.