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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

December 7, 2009

Ruby Slippers

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/ruby_slippers_20091207/

Photo

Photo by Laurel Johnson

This weekend I went to my friend Laurel’s first photo exhibit.  She is a talented photographer and I am very proud of her.  My favorite photograph of the show was this one of ruby slippers. 

An interesting group of people came to see the show.  Artsy types with interesting tattoos, wild hairstyles and strange moustaches. Rockers, punks, babies, grandmas, photographers and those who simply appreciate the art.

I met wonderful people at the exhibit and it’s amazing how you can think you have nothing in common with someone based on how they look only to discover that if you just give it a minute, you will find something that connects you.

When I was moving around the party talking to this eclectic group of people I found myself always coming back to this photo.  It is a fresh take on an iconic memory and it got me thinking about snapping my heals together and getting home and I discovered that there is a certain element of “home” that I get by being with other Jews.

I met a wonderful couple at the event, Sandy and Harris.  She is adorable and funny and he is handsome and charming.  Their daughter Erika is sweet as can be and dates Laurel’s brother Sam. This small group, all strangers to me, made me feel like I was home.  We got each other in a way that I can’t really articulate but there is something about being with a group of Jews that feels comfortable and safe to me.

Erika has 3 brothers and Thea, who is the girlfriend of one of her brothers, was there.  She is really darling and everyone loves her, including me.  Thea is the daughter of a Deacon in the Catholic church and she told me that growing up she had never met anyone Jewish.  She refers to herself as a shiksa, which is charming because she pronounces it Shish-ka, as in kabob.

It was a very entertaining conversation and it eventually came around to my blog in the Jewish Journal.  I was talking about what I write about and we got to talking about being Jewish and our kids dating outside our faith and Sandy and Harris had an interesting take on it. 

Their son had gone out with a lot of girls, some Jewish and some not, and Thea was the first girl that really just fit.  They see her with their son and it makes sense and as parents they love seeing him happy and therefore love her and her faith becomes unimportant because of the joy she brings him.

I suppose I never really think of my son marrying someone not Jewish because he is only 13 and it’s not like I need to worry about who he is going to pick for himself because right now I can pick for him, even if it’s only in my head.  I want him to be with a woman who makes him laugh and feel good about himself.  She will be smart and compassionate and I don’t think there is anything wrong with my wanting her to be Jewish.

Thea’s parents are going to meet Sandy and Harris in January and it will be interesting to hear the Deacon’s take on it.  I get a lot of angry mail for my position on wanting myself and my son to marry within our faith, and I’m curious to see what the Deacon thinks about it and the position of Catholic parents, particularly one who is a leader in his faith.

At the end of the day, is it more important to be with someone of faith than with someone who has the same religion?  If you believe in a higher power does it matter what we call him or is the simple fact that we believe in him enough?  When my son finds the woman that he wants to marry will I be able to support him and love her if she is not Jewish?  Of course I will.

It was a great evening.  It was wonderful to sit and kibbitz with new friends and be reminded that all people can find a common thread if they are willing to look.  I love the idea that we can click our heels and find our way home. All it takes is an open mind and the ability to keep the faith.

****You can see Laurel’s work at www.laureljohnsonphotography.com

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