Non Jewish associate asks me if I know how to wrap a shmata around me and I nod my head in affirmation.
“Yes sir, I know exactly how to do that. Heck, some shmatas melt into me and hug me so tightly I can’t breathe. Or maybe that is the sheets on my bed after as some particularly vivid dreams, who can tell.”
He tells me that he isn’t sure what to make of that because he has learned I can take a few words and turn it into a story on the spot.
“My son would laugh at that and.nod his head yes. I’ll give my grandfathers credit for passing along that particular gift to me, they could both do it too.”
Got me thinking about some of the material from What About Your Liver because we talked about most things but I am not sure if we ever covered that.
Reminds me again of my maternal grandfather telling me he talked to grandma every night and that he had ever since she had died.”
“What do you tell her?”
He lifted his hand as if to hit me, laughed and said “that is between me and her.”
I smile and respond “it is not like you didn’t tell me you and grandma got married because she was a ‘good girl.'”
We both laugh and I tell him that I didn’t need those details.
“You are a father now, I think you know how all that works.”
I smile and ask him if he wants to how many people taught me how that works.
Grandpa laughs and tells me I might be a bigger troublemaker than him.
“Grandma might say I was ‘giving you the business’ huh.”
Guy at the gym asks me why I look like I am trying to put myself into a convalescent hospital and I roll my eyes.
“Old men have to keep themselves in a position to be able to go behind enemy lines and keep fighting.”
He tells me he isn’t sure if I am serious and I nod my head.
“What does that mean?”
“Whatever you think it does. That is the beauty of imagination, you can fill in the gaps.”
In between sets I pull the string on my shorts to tighten them and smile. Haven’t stepped on a scale but clothes are beginning fit differently so I know good things are happening.
Glance at the lab results again and make a mental note to figure out if the numbers are statistically significant or not.
Later on I watch a video of Israeli soldiers shaving their beards to create mustaches and think of friends who have told me this is a thing now.
Some of them have been called up and others wait for word from their children about where they have been stationed and if they will be among those who go into Gaza.
In between it all I see a report of demonstrations in which people chant for the destruction of the state and talk about the glory of martyrs.
These are people who approve of the terrorist actions and who I have to assume would be happy to murder my friends and family.
It is very disturbing and I hear myself telling my kids to remember the importance of focusing on the world we live in while working towards the world we want to live in.
What happened on October 7 has unleashed the kind of ugliness we wished had been left behind and a resolve to force that evil genie back into its bottle.
It is not a question but of a moral imperative. For the sake of my children and future descendants I am committed to doing what I can to help that effort.
Evil cannot be allowed to fester and if it can’t be eradicated it has to be deterred.
Got the Fifth Dimension singing Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In while I think about some of the stories I grew up hearing from survivors, teachers and camp counselors at the various places I attended.
Got echoes of the comments I have heard and read online and elsewhere from people who describe this moment as a nightmare they can’t wake up from as well.
I have told my family and multiple friends I am not any more worried about antisemitism today than I was before October 7th.
That is because I thought it was pretty bad before then and on the fifth anniversary of a man murdering Jews in a synagogue I feel secure in my feelings.
That doesn’t mean I am happy about it because I am not. Nor does it mean that I simply accept it or that I am not hopeful things can improve.
We are not victims and I won’t have any of us walk around acting like it. We’re proud of who we are and will continue to live full, active lives.
It is not like we aren’t still plagued by shootings like the one in Maine or the one in Buffalo, Uvalde or so many other places.
It is not like we didn’t have political issues caused by a twice impeached loser who bungled the pandemic and continues to attack democracy.
All those things are true and all those things have impacted us collectively and caused a certain amount of exhaustion.
But they have also helped to push us to build connections with like minded individuals and try to build a better future.
There is value in that and I agree that necessity is the mother of invention. We’re going to figure things out as we go along.
Might not fix everything or as much as we hope it well but it will improve things and that is all I can ask for.
We don’t plant trees for ourselves, we plant them for the future.
I may or may not see the fruits of some of what we plant today but my children and their children will and that is enough for me to keep going.