An Honest Mistake

(My grandmother, who was always petite, has shrunk over the years to about 5 feet tall and 89 pounds.)

My mother: “We saw Grandmommy yesterday and she seemed quite well. She told a funny story about coming back to her room to find a very large bra displayed on her bed. Apparently it was Wal-Mart size, you know — one of those really huge triple DDD ones that you see there, draped casually on hangers, for all the world to see. Somebody thought it was hers, apparently.”

We Had a Pact!

“ ‘I think I made a terrible mistake!’

“Remember that Seinfeld episode when Jerry gets engaged to Jeannie Steinman and then immediately regrets it? Well, I’m regretting Facebook. I don’t know what I thought it would be but it’s not.

“It was fun on the first day but now I do not know what I would want it for. I’m sorry I accepted certain friend requests. Is there a way to get out of that without insulting anyone? Is there a mutual unfriending?”


"Facebook does not have a category for ‘dear daughters.’ If it did, you would be in it."

The Posting

(My mother set up a Facebook account yesterday.)

"Today I commented on one of your timeline posts. I didn’t realize that others had commented already. My comment was meant to be read just after the posting, if you see what I mean, in order to make sense. If you read it after all nine of the other comments, well, it does not have quite the same zing.

"So, I hope you won’t mind it, and honestly I’d rather you deleted it, if it seems to just be hanging out there like a big matzoh ball. I don’t really know why I commented at all but I guess we both saw this coming… heh, heh… I’ll settle down in a few days."


"Your friends are always so bossy. Try to get some wimpy ones."

The Pitfalls of Old Media

“Well, it just started to pour rain, I mean really pour!, and I saw the newspaper wash away! It went into the gutter and is heading down the street. I have no idea what to do. What I’m NOT going to do is rush out after it in this weather. It’s pouring, and I don’t have on the right clothes. Daddy will not like this at all. You know how he feels about the newspaper.”


by Yehuda Amichai

Not that of a cease-fire,
let alone the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart after a great excitement: You can only
talk about the weariness.
I know that I know how
to kill: that’s why I’m an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the heavy thud of the rubber stamp: I want it
gentle over us, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds —
who speaks of healing?
(And the orphans’ outcry is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)
I want it to come like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
needs it: wildpeace.

(Translated from Hebrew by Chana Block.)

The Lulav

(For the past few years, my parents have been harassed by their obnoxious neighbors, the Swinfords, who claim that my parents trim — without permission!! — a bush planted between the two properties. Duke Swinford has literally run up and screamed at my father, and he also sent my father an insulting letter. The whole thing is as stupid as it sounds, but my mother used to try to feel sorry for the neighbors — until she found out that Duke made anti-Semitic comments about her friends who used to live across the street. She said, “My whole attitude has changed. I no longer feel sorry for them. Now, I hate them.”)

Me: “Your remarks on spelling are hilarious! I HAVE been paying attention; for instance, when I asked you about ‘etrogs,’ you referred to them as ‘esrogs.’”

My mother: “But wait, there’s more! You seem to know about the esrog, but do you know about the lulav? The two go together and are important elements of the Jewish festival of Sukkot (although we pronounced it ‘Sukkos’). I’m sure I’ve described how we used to celebrate this in Hebrew School. It was your mention of the esrog that prompted my actions of the other day… .
"I was watering my plants and decided to give the Lucky Bamboo a good spray in the kitchen sink. The leaves were soaked so I decided to take it outside and just gently shake off the water in the sun. But when I got out on the driveway, it suddenly came over me to literally shake the plant at the Swinfords! I shook it high, I shook it low, I faced east and then west and shook it at their house. I thought of the lulav, and shook the bamboo as if it were one!

"I knew if the Swinfords were watching they would never ask me what I was doing, but they would also wonder if I was in fact doing SOMETHING — something other than shaking water off a plant. There was a vague sense of getting back at them via this ancient Jewish ritual, almost unknown among Christians. How I wished you were there! I would only have had to say, ‘Remember the esrog? This is the lulav!’ and you would have fled into the house to look it up! From my position on the driveway, I would have heard you in the house, howling with laughter!

"Well, that was funny enough, all by itself. But when I told your father about it later he said, ‘Do you think they thought you were putting some kind of curse on them?’ Hilarious! Oh, I hope they did, the morons!"

Mele Hanuka!

Me: “Wikipedia informs me that the preferred spelling nowadays is ‘Hasidic’ with one ‘s.’ It must be so annoying to you how they keep changing the spelling of Hebrew words. At least it’s not ‘Hatidic.’”

My mother: “I will accept the current spelling of Hassidic but I won’t like it. Next they’ll be spelling Channukkah ‘Hanuka.’ Like it’s Hawaiian or something. As it is they’ve been chopping away at the extra letters all these years, like Noah Webster. I like your ‘Hatidic’ though. Shows you’ve been paying attention when I tell you these little stories of my mother.”

The Promised Land

From: [My Brother]
To: [My Parents]
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Subject: Health Ins

Last night Patrick Doyle and I signed a lease. It’s a neighborhood in Brooklyn traditionally inhabited by Hasidic Jews so we’ll fit right in. It’s also getting to be quite cool because of its location and cheap rent, etc., so we’re really happy about it. I will be moving in and trying to find furniture this weekend.

From: [My Mother]
To: [My Brother]
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:48 AM
Subject: Hasidim.

So, I forgot to tell you yesterday… when we got your email last night, Daddy and I had just finished watching The Chosen, a movie based on the book by Chaim Potok. This book takes place in 1940’s Brooklyn, in the very neighborhood you describe! It’s told from the point of view of a very religious, but not Hasidic, Jewish teen who becomes friends with a family of Hasidim, the father of which is the beloved Rebbe of the community.
I read this book when it came out and LOVED it, so when Daddy and I saw the DVD at the library, we decided to see it. Which we did. Last night. And then your email came in. How hilarious!

I have been in that neighborhood many a time with my mother, as well as in the diamond district, where there are also many Hasidim to be seen, going about their business in the gold, silver, and jewelry trades. You are right — you and Patrick, but especially Patrick, will fit right in! *lol*

Love, *:x lovestruck
your religious,
but not Hasidic,