Rosalind G. is one of my most cherished friends in the universe and she just happens to be Jewish. And though she married a good Christian boy (Methodist no less) with a Tennessee pedigree much deeper than mine,
Rosalind has never abandoned her Jewish roots.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם…
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha`olam...
"Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe..."
I’ve heard her speak it from the Jewish Siddur (prayer book)
more than once.
A lover of all things-language,
it was music to my ears.
A heavenly seduction!
I hear it still.
For as long as I have known this gutsy Brooklyn-bred, she has embraced her
twin heritage with chutzpah!
A self-proclaimed “Jewish-Christian,” says she.
When her Appalachian university colleagues scratched their heads at what sort of ‘animal’ she might be, she smiled with unrestrained satisfaction
at the richness of her faith
and the poverty of their unknowing.
Oh she tried fitting in,
but her energy was always the greatest extended.
Some souls remain content in their naïveté,
or is it dispassion?
My friend enjoys a dual citizenship.
Yahweh’s twice favored.
Perhaps the laugh is on us!
At least that’s how I see it.
So when my friend Roz called a few days ago, grief-stricken over the senseless carnage of her eleven siblings in the Squirrel Hill Tree of Life Temple, just outside Pittsburg, PA, I mourned the travesty with her as well as that of millions of other Jewish souls snuffed out across time in their prime by the hatred, bigotry and
insufferable ignorance of humanity.
More than ever, my friend in her D.C. suburbs seems light years away from my Pacific Northwest home.
I want to collapse the coastlines between us.
I want to hold her
and rock her
and sing to her a sweet lullaby that
she will be free from this world
that has always
From this coastline, other arms will enfold her.
And I pray solace has found her,
at least enough for restorative sleep.
Her activism is a stranger to rest.
Back on the phone, Roz queries.
If I send a special gift your way, I wonder if you would be offended?
Or would you wear it in solidarity with the Jewish brothers and sisters this world- over who stand against hatred in every manner in which it presents itself?
Would you wear it for me?
You can place it under your Sunday cleric robe or display it
in the broad light of day--
whichever your comfort level
or that of your people.
I could only imagine.
It arrived yesterday in the mail-- her promised parcel.
And when I opened it, out fell this treasure.
An imaginative gold-crafted symbol
of her ambidextrous faith.
At last I could ‘see’ it!
The beautiful marriage of
and a cross--
tell-tale signs of a great King
of two traditions.
One and the same who rules in both
her heart and mine.
So, you’ll understand dear family and friends, when I wear this sign boldly.
and all the others.
A sister can do no other.