[Editor's note: The author cleared this blog with her friend before posting it. Her friend said the woman was a "narrow-minded old bat". The author now proudly claims the pejorative of shikse.]
I could never be Jewish. Or Pentecostal. Or Orthodox anything, for that matter. The second son of a very good friend had his Bar Mitzvah on Saturday. Having run late trying to get out of the house, the note for the gift sat in my purse during the service, unwritten. Following the service, I asked my friend for a quiet place where I could write the note. She said that some people would be offended by writing anything in the chapel and then suggested a small couch in the ladies’ room for nursing mothers.
I retrieved the note and a pen from my purse and had just begun making the D in Dear when an older woman exiting one of the bathroom stalls harrumphed at me.
“I know I’m not supposed to be writ….”
“I hate it when people do that on the Sabbath and here in the synagogue. You should have more respect. You could at least go out to your car and do that.”
I felt like I had committed some unforgivable deadly sin. Embarrassed, I made my excuses to my host, grabbed a cup of coffee and hightailed it out of there. Once in my car, I began to reflect on the differences between my church life and what I had just experienced.
There aren’t many rules in my current parish. Unlike other denominations and other religions, I eat meat on Fridays; play cards; drink alcohol; wear makeup and jewelry; go bare-headed to church; wear shorts and sleeveless tops outside my house; drive on Saturdays; drive period; take Communion from women; eat pork; enter my pew without kneeling; take notes on the sermon; cross the center aisle without bowing; and still believe that all that really matters is my relationship with my Creator.
Of course it doesn’t help matters that, when told about my scolding at schul, my husband remarked that for the boy he is mentoring for Confirmation he might give the boy a copy of Jefferson’s Bible. Because Jefferson exhorted his nephew to “Question with boldness even the existence of God.” A great way to teach kids to question authority. And one that my rebellious, anarchist side thinks the cure for a lot of what ails us is a small serving of that.