“Beauty is pain.” My Bubbe said that to me on the way to Rosh Hashannah services when I was seven years old. I was fidgeting in the very expensive dress that she bought me for the high holidays and gazing skeptically at myself in the elevator mirror. It was a departure from my normal uniform of dad’s big t-shirts (from different mitzvah days’ and domestic violence marches) and animal patterned leggings. But I was the granddaughter of Rabbi Tzvi Porath and great-granddaughter of Rabbi Israel Porath and Rabbi S.I. Levin and, most importantly, the grandaughter of Esther Porath, rebbetzin and social worker, so I would wear the beautiful, itchy dress. And no one was going to argue with her. Many years later, my dad finally put his finger on why clothing was so important to my grandmother. When she was growing up during the Great Depression, the only quality time Esther got to spend with her distant and unhappy mother was during their annual shopping trips leading up to the Jewish New Year. All of the rabbi’s children needed to look their best for the Jewish High Holidays.
ICYMI, here’s Bubbe Pt. 1
Rebecca Katz is your very average white, Jewish, 20-something-year-old who grew up in Brooklyn and likes to talk about oppression, privilege, television, and her vagina. When she isn’t talking with college students about privilege and oppression in Austin, she is working on a longer comic loosely based on her childhood babysitter. You can find more of her comics at katzcomics.tumblr.com.