Heaven help me. I’m about to do a “Bushmills Vassar.” And that’s a compliment, my friend.
I was raised Lutheran. Went to church every Sunday and to Sunday School. I took piano lessons and the church found out about it and I became the pianist for Sunday School. I played “Jesus Loves Me” to the whole crowd every Sunday. My mom was the “premiere” woman in the church. She was in charge of the weekly Rotary Meetings, making food and fellowship for the men and women of the community who gave dollars to the church for support in return for a meeting place. Mom helped raise money for a new meeting room at the church, a place where for $50 you could have a bridal or baby shower. A real bargain. She even redecorated the women’s lounge and spent money out of her own pocket to do that.
My parents never talked much about the Jews. I don’t think they ever knew any. Neither did I, not because of not wanting to, it’s just I never ran into any. Until my 20’s when the handsome Jewish dude in the apartment downstairs from me asked me on a date. We ended up getting married. My parents and his parents were NOT happy but were tolerant of each other.
My husband had a couple of great Jewish male buddies. One was extremely business oriented and had a Masters in business and owned a few. Businesses, that is. Another was a gentleman who defies words. Sweet, quiet, smart, never dated or married. Some described him as a “savant social introvert” and others called him a “retard.” “Retard” he was absolutely NOT but very polite and extremely grateful for any attention or invites to friends’ events. His parents died when he was very young. My Jewish mother-in-law had Seder every year and always invited my Lutheran parents, who were always very happy to attend and read the scriptures along.
My kids are like the coffee creamer, “half and half.” We raised them Jewish and they have gone their own way but they are extremely tolerant, knowledgeable and have friends on both sides of the aisle. I am very proud. I have friends and acquaintances everywhere. As far as I am concerned there is no “Christian or Jew” or “black, yellow, white or brown.” If you are a friend, you are a friend and deserve the same respect as anyone else.
My husband has been dead almost 18 years. No sorries necessary. I had Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hannukah other events, Seder included, and holidays at my house all these years and I always invited “Hugh” along with all my family and others who had no family or no place to go. No one should be alone on major holidays. No worries, “Hugh” won’t see this or his name. In Kenny Solomon’s words, it is really a “mitzvah” because yes he is difficult to deal with, but that is what God gave to him. Not man. You see?
My mother of 83 years decided she wanted to have Easter Sunday dinner this year and invite the whole family. That is, the LUTHERAN side of the family, which is how it’s always been in her eyes. I asked Mom today if she could find it in her heart to invite “Hugh.”
My mother’s immediate response was, with no thought was a vehement “NO!” and “Carol, if YOU want to have Easter dinner and invite HUGH can you can do that, but I don’t want him here.”
Apparently MOM in spite of all her Christian upbringing and years of work in the Lutheran church has forgotten that Jesus was a Jew.
Yes, my mother’s true beliefs and thoughts came out today. I love her, and visit her every Sunday and we have lunch together.
It’s gonna be tougher now than usual. But that’s a “mitzvah.”