Posted by Chava Tombosky
Being the wife of a Rabbi who has run several organizations over the years, I have become a professional fundraiser attendee. I collect place cards. I have perfected my crudités schmoozing lingo. Usually I start with a- “So where are you from?” sort of question. “Where did you go to school? How many kids do you have, where do they go to school?” If I get really interested in the person I am meeting, the questions will start pouring out of me like a host with a mic. My husband calls this the “Barbara Walters” routine.
If you’re going to do schmoozing professionally, you gotta take your time with the ultimate question which is – What do you do? I have had a hard time answering this question for many years, and always dreaded coming up with the perfect answer. What do I do? I do motherhood. I do clean- up. I do spousal stuff. I do errands. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly confident I’ll tell people I’m a singer, I’m a writer, I’m a poet, I’m a runner, I’m a cookie dealer. You know, try to mix it up.
Then there’s the actual dinner, which usually moves into the ballroom. This is the moment you get to tag your seat with your place card. It’s like having your name up in lights. It’s quite the ego boost. I always wondered how the dinner chairs decide where to seat people. Dinner chairs, that’s what they call people who have their name engraved on the invitation. (It’s way more significant then my little folded place card.) They are usually overdressed in ball gowns and carry clipboards looking quite important at the event itself. (I should know- I’ve been one of these before. Put on an earpiece that is attached to a walkie-talkie, you got yourself the bell of the ball. )
Sometimes they seat you next to people who are in the same profession as yourself, which means we’ve sat next to other Rabbis occasionally. If it is separate seating, then I’ll be seated next to Rebbetzins. Sometimes, I get seated next to people that reside in the same vicinity as myself. Why is it that if you go to an event in Los Angeles, they assume EVERYBODY in the valley knows each other, from North Hollywood past Ventura, like we’re all part of the exact same neighborhood watch committee?
“Hello this is Sandy, you should know each other, she lives in North Hollywood.”
Oh of course I know Sandy- she only lives eighteen miles away, goes to a completely different synagogue, and has her children in a school that if I were to drive to during morning rush hour, I would arrive just in time for carpool, that is Pick-up, not drop off.
I love noticing the centerpieces. I’ve sat next to jars filled with water and orchids, tight roses and gardenias in a glass box, feathers in a vase that change colors, crystals hanging on a tree. But the worst combination I have ever seen was Red roses with baby’s breath on a black tablecloth. It felt like I was at a funeral awaiting a procession. Here’s a little hint, when it comes to the centerpiece,
A) Keep it simple so it doesn’t feel like my dollars went to the florist instead of the sick kids.
B) Keep it low so I can see the people sitting across from me.
C) Keep it narrow, so the bread-basket doesn’t end up on my plate. I like having room for my cute little handbag on the table so I don’t lose it. Also, I don’t like your fancy centerpiece to detract from my place card. I worked hard for that handwritten calligraphy calling-card, don’t make me have to chuck it too early.
The best part of going to events, are the many speeches. But there is always some poor shmuck who is offended he was not thanked. It happens every time. It’s like the rule in fundraisers. No matter how many lists are made of people that have donated their time, money and resources, there is always one forgotten. In fact, I think we should make it a Jew rule, that if you are forgotten in a speech you deserve a prize, like a free bring-a- friend place card for the next event. (We can make that a Christian rule too.)
If you’re attending a really awesome fundraiser, they’ll throw in a great entertainer, just so you don’t get bored. My favorites have been Peter Himmelman the singer and Modi the comedian. Both of whom I’ve hired for events. (And yes, I was holding a clipboard and wearing an ear-piece during their events.) Even when the lights went out and the crowd became rowdy, they stood their ground and took the glitches like real men. Still coming off funny and entertaining, they held their own.
Then there comes dessert. I’ve been served sorbet with fruit, chocolate mousse, strawberry praline, cookies, apple pie ala-mode, but my favorite by far is always the very elaborate Viennese table. Cause nothin’ says “we’re using your money for good” like a long table filled with over priced whimsical little layered cakes.
My favorite part of going to fundraisers is the overall feeling that eating my roast beef helped a little girl learn Aleph Bais, or chowing on my chocolate torte helped a teacher get her pay check. To all of you who have gone to your share of fundraisers, I raise my glass to the added effort you have taken in paying for your Barney’s dress/suit, hiring a sitter, and writing that check that funds the many benefits we are all trying so hard to support even in this most difficult economic climate.
And to Judith, at the Luxe, the one woman I see pretty much every two weeks, you can write my place card ahead of time, and just keep a seat warm, cause I’ll be back next week for another one. I’m sure.
4.11.13 at 9:59 pm |
3.10.13 at 11:38 pm | Next week I kept telling myself. Next week I will. . .
2.7.13 at 9:55 pm | “You know, there is one other wine in the house. . .
1.21.13 at 12:58 am | One of our generation's biggest problems is the. . .
12.21.12 at 12:23 pm | ....immersing ourselves in this tragic news. . .
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4.11.13 at 9:59 pm | (15)
10.21.10 at 12:17 am | She doesn't save a thing...... (6)
9.22.10 at 6:34 pm | Lucky for us, we don’t have to wait a year to. . . (5)
January 18, 2010 | 1:18 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
A young woman in her early twenty’s recently admitted to me her struggle in seeing her future. She has yet to figure out her calling. She is a beautiful young woman who is in the course of trying to decipher what step to take next with her life. She said this sentence that I imagine many others might think (during this economic environment) but dare to say. She said:
“Life is one big burden.”
I propose to notice the beauty and the possibility in the day rather than the encumbrance of worries, or the onus of new responsibilities that come with living on one’s own, paying bills, or figuring out one’s future. Fear is a very powerful emotion. And if we let it, it can overtake our lust for life. Here are some quotes said by Martin Luther King Jr. that I do hope will give us all the inspiration to seize the day and see life with new possibilities:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
“I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
“Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“We must use time creatively.”
January 17, 2010 | 1:41 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Sundays are the hardest days for me to squeeze in my work out as I wrestle with wanting to lie in bed that extra tempting hour since carpool is not an issue and the thought of a big leisure breakfast is the only desire that permeates.
So I went online to gain a little inspiration. This website known as “Real Women’s Fitness” had this to say about keeping trim fit abs:
*“So how should I do cardio for better abs?
Keep your cardio simple. If you are trying to lose weight so that your abs show through you should do three or four sessions a week of some nice high intensity sprinting. Each session should last for not much longer than 20 minutes and should be followed by a nice warm down.”
Perfect, that is great advice. Plus it leaves me guilt free lying under my cozy covers as I calculate the three to four sessions and realize they do NOT have to include Sunday! Yaa! But-
THEN I READ THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH:
“However, one has to keep in mind that nothing in fitness is a hard and fast rule. I do my three set cardio workouts per week but I also lift weights four times a week, play indoor soccer twice a week, train martial arts at home and walk the dog twice a day. Just because high intensity cardio is better for burning fat it does not mean you should stop your daily jog or your weekly sporting match.”
Did this woman just say she lifts weights four times a week, plays soccer, trains martial arts and takes fourteen walks a week? She just added at least twenty-two hours to her work out regimen a week! Which means the work out professionals of today are saying that in order to stay fit, a person has to work out at a minimum of THREE hours a day.
For those of you having a hard time squeezing in 3-4 hours at the gym or with your dog, I’ve concocted my own regimen to help you get those flat abs promised by “real” women’s fitness:
1. Drive past Vons and park across the street in the Ralphs parking lot. Take out TWO large duffel bugs and hike with one over each shoulder to the VONS store. (Cardio warm up)
2. Walk past the carts and fill up your duffels with as many groceries as you can possibly gather. This will help strengthen your biceps while feeding your family. (Weight lifting regimen)
3. Pay for your groceries in the “do it yourself” aisle. Every single workout has that moment where you’re ready to sprint, stop breathing, and pretty much want to kill your trainer for forcing you to strain yourself- this is that part of the workout. Plus you get extra cardio for emptying your duffels and repacking them. Type in the number indicating Gala apple. Do it again. It didn’t work? Do it again. One more time. Call over the “cashier” they’re paying to torment you. See- how many reps you’re up to?
4. Carry your FULL duffels back to your car. (cool down)
5. Stop at the gas station, pump that lever YOURSELF. Adding to a little more arm strengthening. Don’t cheat by pushing down the metal lever that holds the pump for you.
6. Shlep those duffels back into the house, unload.
7. Cook dinner using a HEAVY pot and now jog out of the house as quickly as you can, since this routine has literally filled your entire day, and it is now three thirty and carpool awaits.
Don’t forget to breath, drink, and pray.
Cause this is a work out for “Real Women” .
(For those of you doing this with babies or toddlers, kudos! You can add an extra 1600 calories lost after this routine.)
January 15, 2010 | 3:02 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
My latest Kitchen Gadget has changed my life in the most staggering way:
For the past two years I have longed for a serious coffee machine made by Nespresso that u can only buy from William Sonoma or other high-end Kitchen stores.
Most recently my brother caught on to this coffee drinking experience after his trip to Italy where he was exposed to the best espresso EVER.
Being my brother and I are on a shoestring budget we spend our days checking in with each other sending each other posts on the best websites that have this machine at the cheapest discounted price. The best deal so far? Three Hundred bucks and a month’s supply of coffee cartridges known as capsules- (don’t ask).
We comb the malls looking for William Sonoma stores and pose as potential customers just to get a sip of this incredible brew from their sample machine.
We are obsessed with this appliance.
My husband is a man with very few needs. If it were up to him, he’d live in a bare apartment with a toothbrush and a shoe-horn he’d double as a spoon and a paper weight. I can count on my hand how many times we’ve ventured to the mall for a shopping expedition for his wardrobe. I have a big closet. He has a drawer. I have forty-one pairs of shoes. He has two, running shoes and dress shoes. We’ve already established in my last blog that I am not royalty, but I do however enjoy the finer things in life- like getting manicures now and then and good espresso.
My husband has always been quite generous with my “high lifestyle” habits, but there are certain things he cannot wrap his head around. “Why can’t u do your own nails- u can reach them. And if it’s all about getting caffeine in your system, instant works just fine.”
So I’ve taken to using cash at the nail salon to hide my dirty little grooming secret. Not that he doesn’t know about it, but it leaves him less less stressed when he combs the bills and doesn’t find “Lee’s Nail Salon” posted all over the ATM summary. But this coffee machine will have to be the one indulgence that my husband will actually have to agree with if I’m going to purchase it. It’s one thing to spend twenty bucks once a month (ok three times a month) but a wopping three hundred bucks- that calls for a family decision. (I won’t even mention the milk frother for an extra fifty that changes the whole experience into true coffee house bliss. You’ve never seen foam this fluffy.)
Monday morning at approximately 0-100 hours, I receive the following text from my brother (who also has to convince his practical wife why this machine will inherently change his life for the better) “My wife bought me a Nespresso machine”.
I was deeply happy for my brother who shares this taste for extravagant coffee as I do. Yet I was envious of his new morning consisting of cappuccinos with floral aromas and full-bodied notes emerging with woody hints of cocoa.
After receiving several coffee tip texts, like how heating the coffee mug before adding the brew makes it extra tasty, and my brother’s bragging of his little spoons he purchased to match his little cups– I became desperate.
So I did what any highly trained Jewish wife would do to circumvent her husband’s biases towards this incredibly innovative lavish Kitchen appliance.
I sent my kid on the job.
Like the little cadet he is, my thirteen year old convinced his father he would be saving tons of money each day from mommy’s over done Starbucks runs and that within four months the machine would practically pay for itself. “Plus,” he said, “mommy will be really happy and isn’t that what life’s about- making mommy happy?” (This kid’s got skills)
So I am proud to say that Operation Nespresso was a success. As I sit sipping an Ethiopian variety espresso with sweet and floral notes, reminiscent of jasmine, I am forever grateful to my loving prudent husband for the best Chanukah gift ever!
(He even got me the milk frother.)
* This essay is dedicated to my darling husband, after suffering with a pretty miserable wife who has been sick with a cold and has given him grief just because she was feeling lousy.
** This essay is also dedicated to my brother, Yaak on the auspicious occasion of his 33rd birthday and to my sweet sweet sister in law who has managed to give my brother the best gift ever!
***Also a shout out to my brother Mendy on his 19th birthday…..both brothers were born on the same day- how random is that??
January 13, 2010 | 10:16 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
I recently attended a wedding of a dear friend. What made this wedding unlike most was that this was the bride’s second wedding. After living through a tumultuous first marriage, she was blessed to have a redo, a second chance, with a wonderfully sensitive man who compliments her greatly and has accepted her two children from her previous marriage with opened arms.
There is a Jewish saying that goes “Simcha Paretz Geder”, “Happiness can break all boundaries”. Life is a dichotomy filled with great challenges, deep sadness, loss, ultimate joy and celebration. Divorce has not been a foreign challenge for me, as I witnessed my own parents’ divorce after thirty-one years. The pain involved in a long term relationship ending is like no other. Everyone suffers when a marriage ends. The husband and wife are left to their own devices to begin their life again without real preparation, and the children become the ultimate sacrifice. Many tears are spilled and many cries are shed.
It is said of Moses as he was floating in the Reed river wrapped in a blanket inside a tar made basket, that he was saved by Princess Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh when she heard Moses’ sweet crying. A Jewish cry is like no other. A Jewish cry is the cry of conviction and of resilience. Maybe when the Torah speaks of the Jewish nation being referred to as “The Chosen People”, it is referring to us as being chosen to be the cry of hope in the midst of the storm. It is our job as a collective people to find that hope and pass it on to others. For the paradox of the human spirit and hope is in order to have it, one must give it away. And who has endured more dark moments, more trying times than the Jewish nation? But how does one attempt to not become a victim of his own tears?
There are times you are feeling as if it can’t get any worse, all is lost, and hope is but a muted whisper. It is said in the Torah that the Jews after being enslaved, tortured, and persecuted for two hundred and ten years in Egypt finally left with Moses at Midnight. The sages ask, why was it necessary for the Jewish people to leave at that hour? It almost feels as if they were sneaking out of town, maybe afraid of being persecuted again. But G-d created great miracles with the ten plagues, surely he was finally known to the world for his Divine powers. There would have been no need to “sneak” them out of Egypt. If anything, they should have left in the middle of the day as testimony to G-d’s ultimate sovereignty over “The Great” Pharaoh and the entire world.
As always, no detail in the Torah is an accident. This small detail is the mystery to the greatest lesson of human survival. The moment of midnight is the darkest point of the entire day cycle. The minute after midnight, however, is the beginning of light emerging. This light continues to get a bit brighter minute by minute until it is shining with ultimate brightness upon the moment of morning sunrise.
As in life, there are times we believe our challenges are at its darkest moments. It can’t possibly get any darker. It is at those moments we may not even feel G-d’s presence. We are left destitute without a map veiled in a grave of black somber tears. But at that very moment when life is at its darkest, G-d’s sweet breath whispers hope. And just when you think it is the darkest, a moment after that begins the emergence of light. Every moment thereafter brightens with greater and greater force.
This is the lesson of the Jews leaving at Midnight to teach us the human spirit can never stay in a state of darkness. This is not a natural place to STAY. It may be a natural place to endure, but ultimately light will seep into our challenges and propel us to new and greater heights as it did for my dear friend this past week.
When I met this friend five years ago, she was fraught with the greatest loss she had ever endured. The thought of her ability to ever get a do-over was the farthest thing in her mind. She was overcome with sadness and spent most days mourning for what could have been. And here, a few years later, with jubilation plastered on her face as she glowed with triumph and exhilaration I was reminded of the power of joy and the power of a Jewish woman’s tears. The power of music vibrating through her as she danced to the music of her new life taking flight, pulsing and bursting with the knowledge that yes, life can have it’s lows, but those lows can catapult us to the depths of elation we never thought possible because ultimately there is always hope.
My friend never did allow herself to become a victim to her pain. She is a woman with great dignity always trusting her experience would give her strength, and that it did. Her indestructible grace has always been a source of great inspiration to me. May we all be blessed to learn from our challenges as she did and for those of you enduring difficult trials today, may you be comforted in knowing, midnight is but a minute away from the bright morning.
*This essay is dedicated to the Chosson and Kallah and to my new friend Rebbetzin Feige Twersky. To view her inspiring essays go to: http://www.aish.com/f/rf/
**This Essay is also dedicated to the many families who have been struck by the tragic earthquake in Haiti. May G-d give you strength to be blessed with the ability to heal, repair, and restore all that you have lost.
January 13, 2010 | 9:24 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
I’ve decided to post random questions that come to mind in certain typical life situations at least once a week that I hope will give people a chuckle and a little somethin’ to think about. Here are a list of questions that have randomly popped into my head during my latest trip. In tribute to the latest flick entitled “Up In the Air”, these are the very issues, they DID NOT address or ponder in that particular movie. I call this essay:
“Up In The Air- questions of a voyage, Issues they did not address or ponder in that particular movie”
I’ve always tried to figure out what flying protocol is when you’re stuck sitting next to the window.
When the flight attendant asks you what you’d like to drink, do you saying nothing with the hope you won’t have to pee and bother the two passengers next to you even though you could really use a cold beer for nerves?
Being you have access to the window shade and play a vital role as the honorary lighting director for your row, a responsibility thrust upon you by the computer randomly assigning you your seat, do you leave the window shade opened or closed? Maybe the person sitting next to you would like the warm sunshine hitting their face, or maybe watching the earth underneath them will freak them out too much. What if the light outside bothers them and they would rather sleep?
If you’re hoping to stretch cause you were the one stuck sitting furthest from the aisle, is it appropriate to sleep on the person next to you?
And what about bringing gum? Cause I always pack chewing gum so my ears don’t get stuffed on the way up and then accidentally pack it in my carry on I’ve stowed away in the compartment above me. During take off, is it appropriate to force the other two guys out of their seatbelts for my fix of mint?
And while we’re landing, is it considered impolite to ask the person next to me to hand my trash to the flight attendant? Should I throw it at her if the guy next to me is sleeping? How do I pass my empty beer can to her then?
These are some of the issues I’ve had with flying. And if the neighbor sitting next to me happens to be wearing a head covering reminiscent of Middle Eastern fashion, do I drink two beers in stead of one?
Do I open my Hebrew prayer book and pray revealing my ethnicity? Or do I pretend I’m totally cool, and I’m a liberated American without any biases at all and talk about “Pareve” topics that have nothing to do with anything political, religious or news worthy? Do I ignore the fact that everyone on the plane is glaring at this woman and eyeing her Franklin Covey satchel wondering if there’s a hidden weapon hiding inside? I’m the person sitting next to her, so technically I’m responsible to make her feel welcomed. But I’m also the first person to go if her Satchel is indeed hiding explosives. Let’s say she’s a decent person without any terrorizing agenda and I need to make small talk- what do we talk about? I can’t ask her where she gets her hair done, cause she’s covering it with a scarf, the topic of discussion would have to remain bland. Sometimes I wear scarves, maybe I can ask her where she buys hers and trade our secrets on the best wrapping techniques. Do I ask her where I can buy cumin and spicy Paprika? Do we discuss the latest romantic comedy flick? What if she’s very religious and she doesn’t watch movies at all? Will she be offended if I decide to watch the latest George Clooney flick on the screen imbedded in the seat in front of me?
There are so many issues and no real handbook for any of these answers- that’s it- next time I take the bus, accumulative mileage or not.
January 11, 2010 | 4:58 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
When you keep a strict Kosher diet you will find any reason to eat out in as many Kosher restaurants you can find. Keeping kosher means you are willing to drive, fly, or even swim for food. Yes, you’ve narrowed down your sushi options, but you still don’t have to give up on great cuisine.
I am a big fan of eating out at kosher establishments. I do love to cook, but nothing I make tastes quite the same as a darling waiter serving you a piping hot dinner cooked by someone else who has done the menu planning, shopping and preparation. And if the only tradeoff involves leaving a tip for doing dishes, then that’s one tradeoff I am willing to make.
I have tried pretty much every Kosher restaurant in Los Angeles. But nothing has come close to the experience I had tonight upon venturing into Real Food Daily. It was like having a rendezvous with brown rice and fakin bacon rolled up in the perfect delight of cashew cheese (I’ve never even heard of cashew cheese!) in a whole wheat wrap with a twist of avocado and ranchero sauce. I am moonstruck with this place!
Of course if I’m commenting on the food, I can’t help but comment on the group of patrons that dined at this establishment. It was a really cool eclectic mix of vegan, organic, Birkenstock wearing hippies, and movie stars like Kirsten Dunst. (Yep, I really did just name drop. And I can’t tell you I didn’t feel guilty for chowing down on the high caloric burrito while she ordered the raw salad.) Then there was us brisket smelling Jewish folk who had never bought “seasoned seitan” or knew what it was let alone dared to order it.
Aside for the hefty price on carrot juice, which was $5.99! The desserts were tastefully without guilt and the over all vibe of the atmosphere felt overwhelmingly trafe, without that guilt either. It was like the perfect “pareve” palace. Fake meat, fake cheese, and fake calories but with REAL taste- hence, Real Food Daily. Check it out!
January 10, 2010 | 2:30 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This Sunday morning is the first day I will venture into taking my youngest son who is seven to little league. This requires commitment of time. This requires lots of carpooling on Sundays. This requires two hundred and twenty five dollars. What’s really unique about this league is that it is an all -Jewish league. Kids from all over Los Angeles and the valley who are Shabbos observant and don’t play on Saturdays can join this renegade Sunday league. ‘Course, my sister in law tells me that if this is a gathering of Jewish kids, it also means there will be a gathering of Jewish mothers. Jewish mothers competitively fashioning their latest purchases. Great now I gotta buy new clothes for this event as well.
But I am willing to go the distance in order to give my kid fresh air, exercise, and a good healthy sense of competition. Plus he batted a hundred in the batting cages at his friend’s birthday party, which means he could possibly be the next Babe Ruth. (A Jewish mother can only wish).
It is this day that I am reminded of an incident that took place when I was ten and I had joined a local softball team, and my little brother had joined little league way before any Jewish league was available.
It was a hot March day when us two Jewish kids ventured to the local public school to join our respected teams. I was on field three. My little brother was across from me on field two.
Let me digress by saying, although my brother and I were not Shabbos observant fully at that time, we were well on our way. The big debate at home was should my brother wear his Tzitzis and Kippah to the game or not. He wore them to our Jewish private day school every day. He did wear them on Shabbat. Technically speaking we were playing on Shabbat, so maybe he would have to wear the Jew gear to practice as well. After much debate, he decided to keep it consistent. But he also decided he’d tuck in the strings of his Tzitzis garment into his pants and he’d being wearing a baseball cap so his Kippah shouldn’t really be an issue incase the coach had a problem with these garments not being part of the uniform. Who am I kidding, we were the only Jewish kids on the team and we just didn’t want to be found out as different.
That day my game ended early and I decided to sit in the bleachers and wait for him to finish giving me a birds- eye view of his game. The batter was up. Bases were loaded. My brother was next to the plate. The pitcher gave it his all and little Jake took a full swing hitting the ball right down the middle. His little legs ran as fast they could towards first base but he wasn’t fast enough and the pitcher tagged him with so much force his body flew into the dirt lifting his shirt and revealing his Tzitzis as his hat traveled through the air showing off his Kippah in all it’s glory. (I hope you’re picturing this scene in slow motion as I am.)
And then it came. The snickering, the belittling and the taunting- “Jew boy, Jew boy, why don’t you take your strings and beenie cause you are OUT!”
Back in the dug out he was taunted and asked whether he had horns underneath his Jew cap. It was a hard day. My brother cried the whole way home. He was upset he lost for the team, but more upset that he was teased for who he was. I think it was the first time we had really felt violated as kids for being Jewish.
Later that night we had a family meeting to discuss “the incident”. The question came up, should we go back to playing baseball? After much deliberation, it was decided we would go back and try to find the main teasers and beat the bloody hell out of them. Ok that I made up. But we did practice a list of “come-backs”. Come-backs like,
“You don’t like it, bite me, Ya I got a beenie it hides the horns that can ram you if you don’t hit the ball home, I’m Jewish- deal with it, Don’t hate me cause I’m Jewish, I got a dad who’s a doctor, I know I’m Jewish- you don’t have to remind me about it- it’s engrained in my psyche like a an itch that refuses to be scratched, trust me it’s harder on me than it is you, and of course the best one- if you keep this up I’ll have to call my mother, trust me, you don’t want to meet my mother.”
The next Saturday my parents escorted us to the game. My mother sat in the bleechers like a raging pit-bull. My dad sat there saying things like “Honey, calm down, we’re not in the ghetto, we live in suburbia with track housing where people drive Volvos and station wagons. No one wants to hurt our son.” And my brother with all his bravery circumvented any more hostility by going up to the two kids teasing him the Saturday before by saying-
“This is my Kippah, I wear it because it reminds me God is with me. These strings I wear remind me that I have a code of Laws written in my bible that I try to follow every day.
The kids looked in horror with out much to say as he continued his Rabbi’s sermon.
“Plus, if I wear it, it ensures our team to have winning power.”
Without much more then a beat, the kids squarely looked into my brother’s eyes and said- “If that is true, you better make sure you wear your Jew gear to every single game.”
And so he did.