Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On Being Jewish

As any older-than-their-son, divorced, single-parent, non-Jewish girlfriend of a young Temple-trained lad can tell you, the parents of a nice Jewish boytchik feel quite strongly about the importance of religion. That a prospective daughter-in-law is a shikse matters even if she does not bring any other unseemly baggage to the altar, and it becomes even more of an issue when the other negatives are a bit indelicate to raise.

This parental concern had always been explained to me thus: “To be Jewish, you must have a Jewish MOTHER." (Therefore, any child borne by a female non-Jew cannot be Jewish, and therefore parents of the Jewish father of such children are deprived of having Jewish grandchildren, all of which is a pretty serious shortfall - oy). I always assumed that this emphasis on having a Jewish MOTHER suggests something noble about the daughters of Israel.

My husband and I have been married for more than thirty years now, and whatever animosity his parents once felt for me seems to have dissipated long ago. His parents and I have never discussed the matter, but this afternoon over lunch, my mother-in-law commented that “to be Jewish you must have a Jewish mother because of course you can never know for sure who the father was.”

And to think I once contemplated converting...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Photograph by © 2006

Strawberries are borne on plants that are the offspring of parent plants set in the ground two years ago. For fruit to reach this pile on the kitchen counter, the weeds that invade the patch must be pulled, and in dry times the plants must be watered. As they start to ripen, the chipmunks and voles descend on them, and this gardener uses Havahart traps and an ernest relocation project... One bite of a ripe, red berry would convince you it is worth the effort.