To my family, all my Jewish friends and Jews all over the world – L’Shana Tova Happy New Year. Here’s wishing everyone a happy, healthy and sweet new year full of joy and naches.
I am proud to be Jewish. I embrace the religion and I love the religious culture. The religion presents God in a way that makes human life holy and love as God’s greatest gift to mankind. The religious culture, simply put, is literally delicious. Every holiday and celebration has special food that goes with it. There is something to be said about a religion that feels good and tastes good.
I want to share a story with you about Mimi, my beloved second wife who died of pancreatic cancer. We met on match.com, an online dating site. I think it is fair to say that posting an online dating profile is similar to posting a job resume. If it catches someone’s eye, it can get you an interview, which is what that first date is. This happened during that first interview. We had gotten through the family and where we grew up part of the interview. We reached the religion part. I am very Jewish. I wear it on my shirt sleeve and my face. I look like every other bald, bearded and hooked nose Jewish man. Mimi was half English and half Irish and she was a classic shikseh goddess. Turned up nose, big hazel eyes, a real cutie pie.
I asked her a fairly opened ended question about her religious beliefs. I asked her, “Are you a Christian?” There are many ways that someone can be a Christian.
This was her answer. “I was raised Presbyterian and I married a Catholic man and we raised our children Catholic. But, I have to tell you, I have never believed that Jesus died for my sins. I am responsible for my own life and how I will be judged by God.”
My next question was this, “Do you believe in the Ten Commandments and that they are holy, given to us by God so we can have a civilized way of life?”
“Well, I have some great news for you…YOU’RE JEWISH.”
It was as if I had flicked a switch and turned a light on for her. She had an epiphany on the patio at P.F. Chang’s in Highland Village, Houston, Texas that night. She self converted and became a practicing Jew. And once she discovered the delicious part of the religious culture, she couldn’t get enough of it.
When I go to the memorial service on Yom Kippur, I will be honoring those precious memories.
So Mimi, this limerick is for you as it is how you embraced being Jewish.
With an over 5000 year evolution,
The Jewish religion is a dynamic institution.
Not overly dogmatic –
I find it pragmatic….
And we get two shots at a New Year’s resolution.