two consecutive conversations with my father

Maybe they were so different because one was on our cellphones.

But that’s just what would be interesting if it were filmed.

The first conversation was a query about a package that came from ISHI to his apartment. The box was from Israel so my father, being the Zionist that he is, was excited but confused. It’s not his birthday or anything, was it? I said he shouldn’t be too excited, but it was actually from both of us, which meant I sent it to him through ISHI’s paypal account. Which means it’s our account, but it’s just under ISHI’s name for convenience’s sake. He said, “Wait, wait, I gotta open it now. Just wait and I’ll tell you if it’s special or not.” And so he opened it and found some body products made in Israel by Ahava. I had bought some recently and figured that he would appreciate them, also, since we share psoriasis, too.

 Clineral by AHAVA & Teva PSO Body Cream

“Wait! Where are the ladies to rub the cream on me?”

“Um, you ‘ll have to find that product yourself, Dad. That wasn’t featured on this website.”

And then he thanked me, since he had actually just finished the product he had brought back with him last year when he spent a few weeks at the Dead Sea, trying to get his psoriasis under control.

So we talked a little bit more and he asked if I had gotten his thank-you note for his father’s day gift (which I had, but do you need to thank someone for thanking you?) and we signed off.

About two minutes later, the home phone rings. I saw that it was my father calling from his home this time. He obviously had been home when we had spoken (or else he carried the package elsewhere?), but he probably thought I wasn’t home at that time of day. This time, he called and was very seriously upset. He had turned on his computer and received an email that was very troubling and he didn’t know what to do about it.

That made me a bit worried; just a bit, because he has received emails from friends who basically are forwarding stuff that is quickly dismissed with one fell snopes.

But this was different. It was from a relative.

“Oh, Dad. I know what you’re going to say. I got the same one.”

“Really? I thought it was just for me.”

“No, it’s not personalized, It’s from Geni for all of our relatives who are signed up for it. So I know what you’re upset about.”

“Really? I guess that should make me feel better, but it doesn’t.”

“Yeah, I felt the same way. “

So now you might be curious what was in the email that he took so personally. Here is is, of course with names and details changed.

Subject: your cousin and his wife. This past weekend celebrated on Saturday July 28th and July 29th Sunday

July 28th 5 yrs of marriage in (this time in the US, last time in Columbia) their reasserting their love /vows at Camp Hoochikumi on the  shore, where they met originally, on Sunday July 29th Baptism of their son at all Saints Church. Both families attending, a wonderful weekend.

STOP.

Doesn’t it read just like a telegram?

So why were we so upset? Actually, for different reasons. He thought is was an affront to his Jewishness, that they were flaunting their lack of connection to their religion in his face.

I knew better. I knew that they had no idea that it would upset him, since Judaism plays no part in their lives. So why shouldn’t another religion matter, if it does matter to one of the spouses? Isn’t some religion in the name of family better than none?

I realized that the Judaism they had received as children didn’t make any impact on them as lasting into adulthood.

I was upset because we have failed them.

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