Something A Little Different

I do not want to traffic in politics here. That is not at all my intention.  But I do want to share an experience I had yesterday.  It rocked me to the core and left me off balance and a bit frightened. I cannot explain it other than to just tell it like it happened.

First, let me give you some background.

I am a Jew.  I chose to identify this way out of a very long, deep and prayerful process.  I was raised in a mixed family and was a member of the United Methodist church for a major portion of my life.

I have always been a seeker of the Divine.  I am so serious about it that at one point I went to seminary (Presbyterian) and got a degree in it.  I was even ordained for a bit:)

Yet, I was never, ever, comfortable in my own skin as a Christian.  I have nothing at all against prayerful Christianity or against followers of Jesus.

After all, he was a Jewish boy!

But, for me, my comfort zone is the religion and the culture of my father, and of my sister, and that is Judaism.

I am still learning and know I have a lifetime of worship, music and liturgy ahead of me.  I can’t wait!  It feels so good to finally be home.

in fact, I can think of no greater joy than celebrating my own Bat Mitzvah.

But lately, there has been a war on in Israel.  You may have heard about it.

It has stirred up a lot of Antisemitism.  This is something that we learn as Jewish kids (whether you identify or not) to deal with.  I have experienced it all of my life.

But yesterday was the worst.

I have taken to wearing a tiny, gold, star of David necklace.  It is important to me and I like the symbolism.

So I was at the meat counter at my local grocer and was trying to buy some steaks.  The butcher eyed my necklace and then very purposefully walked past me: twice.

There were no other customers.

He refused to wait on me until my tall, Germanic husband came over.  At that point, he only responded (and rudely at that) to what my husband said.  He ignored what I said as though I was not there.

I could feel the hate pouring off of him.

Is this what it feels like to be black in America?

Is this what it feels like to come across the border if you are brown and poor?

I don’t know.

I just know that I felt frightened.  I felt sick.

I felt like I needed to update my passport, like I have been told by older Jews.

“Keep your passport ready so you can get out to Israel if need be.”

So, tonight I light the candles and sing the blessings over the bread and wine.  And tonight I pray for peace.

Peace in Israel.

Peace in Gaza.

Peace in Iraq.

Peace in Syria.

Peace in Missouri.

Peace,on earth.


2 Replies to “Something A Little Different”

  1. I’m so very sorry you experienced such of awful bigotry. My parents never commented on anyone’s race, religion or sexual orientation ~ they loved learning about other cultures.

    I love the diversity that people bring to this country. When my children were young I hired a 14 year girl old to help out. We became very close and still are 15 years later. I will never forget the day she called me “white” she was born in El Salvador. It shocked me; I had no idea that being Hispanic was another race.

    The children born in the 80’s and 90’s are so much more open- minded. I raised my kids in the Catholic Church; out of the four I have a Buddhist, a Christian-Pagan, a hopeful agnostic and one Catholic. I couldn’t be more proud.

    I would be equally proud if they chose Judaism. What you experienced is horrific and heartbreaking. I sincerely hope this one experience doesn’t change you; you are wonderful and an inspiration to so many.

    1. Thanks so much for this kind response. It is always a surprise when color and race and class blind people bump up against the rest of the world. In fourth and fifth grade my son’s best buddy was an African American boy. On one occasion my husband took the boys to a baseball game. The kids were running a bit wild through the refreshment area and my husband saw someone shake their head and say,”that little black kid could use some better parenting.” Our son was being just as bad or whatever. My husband reached the kids and threw his arms across both boys shoulders and said, “MY boys need to slow down a bit.” Then he turned to those people and said, “MY boys.”

Comments are closed.