I recently returned from Florida, where I spent the Kwanzaa break (I've coined a new name for the winter break that I hope will sweep the nation) with my parents. Actually, they used to be my parents. Now they're my son's grandparents. I was once my mother's middle child, her youngest son, one of three apple-cheeked children around which her world revolved. Now I'm just the thing that brings the grandchild during the Kwanzaa break (I think the name is catching on).
I am a vegetarian. I know there was a big controversy brewing over kosher meat, but I'm not sure what the Jewish position
on vegetarianism is. I suppose as long as the vegetables are pulled from the ground in a quick and humane manner, no one can object too strenuously to it. I know God created animals, but I can't imagine He'd be offended if I didn't eat them. I'd hate to think of God pouting in His room saying, between sobs, "I worked so hard on that lamb and Nemetz doesn't even touch it!"
What is a friend? When I was a kid, the requirements were none too stringent. Is he in my class? Can I ride my bicycle to his house? Do his parents have any insane "not too much candy before dinner" rules?
As I got older, other factors became more important. Do we root for the same team? Are we willing to lie to our parents for each other? Does he have a bong?
Now that I'm one half of a couple (actually, 49 percent when it comes to decision making, 51 percent when it comes to heavy lifting) friendship is trickier. Are our children the same age? Do our families have comparable incomes? Do they have a bong?
I am the Shiva Guy. When a member of my temple's congregation loses a family member, it is my job to take prayer books to the
house of mourning, where at least 10 people of bar/bat mitzvah age or above pray twice daily. And eat -- mostly bagels, lox and cream cheese and fruit, but those particular menu items aren't mandatory.
My son attends Hebrew day school. At least, I think he attends it. It's October and he hasn't been there for a full five-day week yet.