I Wish I Was a Jew - Herbietown


I Wish I Was a Jew

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I attended a Jewish funeral last week.

My buddy’s mother passed away after a battle with cancer.

The last time I set foot inside a synagogue, I was about 12 years old. Rachel Beardsley’s Bat Mitzvah. I had to wear a funny hat and everything was in Hebrew. I expected this funeral service to be about the same, by which I mean completely unintelligible and extremely awkward.

I was wrong.

The service opened with a short song and then the rabbi spoke.

“It’s not fair. It’s NOT FAIR!” he said. “How can this be fair? She should be here with us. Now. In this room. Do you hear me? She should be here with us. It’s NOT FAIR!” He railed on like this for a few minutes. It made me angry. It made me sad.

He paused.

“But it’s not literally unfair. It’s not actually unfair. None of us is guaranteed a certain number of years.”

“It is emotionally unfair. It is devastating. But it’s not actually unfair. We must make the best of the years we have. And she did.”

He went on to describe her life and the impact she had on her family and friends. He spoke about his relationship with her, things he had observed over the years. He was funny.

I cried the entire time.

Later, I thought: “Could a priest have said those things?” It’s hard to imagine. A priest is more likely to say things like “she’s in a better place now” and focus on theology and faith to comfort. As near as I can tell, Judaism doesn’t obsess about an afterlife. There are obviously teachings about a messiah, but it doesn’t seem to be central to the religion. Judaism focuses on the here and now.

People relate to each other directly and honestly. The jokes are, in fact, better, I think because Jews study human nature as it is and not through some unrealistic spiritual lens.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being too hard on Christianity. I knew some incredible people during my 6 year teenage odyssey as an evangelical. Sometimes I look back on those years and feel embarrassed or angry that I was brainwashed. But the reality is more complicated. Rone, Pete, Eric, Tom, and others were spiritual guides to me. They were genuinely good people who cared about me, who loved me. They were kind and wise. They had an enormously positive influence on my life.

I just wish I could have had all of that without the man-in-the-sky parts.

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Comments 5

  1. Wunda wrote:

    Welcome aboard

    Posted 13 Jan 2012 at
  2. Doccabrera wrote:

    Great note!. Chris, life is a journey and we have a lot of door in front of us, some are opened for us, as life goes on, we open our own doors. Choices are right in our head at the time and is good to know we can do better with our kids and future life. It is not easy, kids will say I did not want that door. Just be there to close the circle. Thanks for including me in your facebook friends. Ernesto  

    Posted 13 Jan 2012 at
  3. Joe Dudas wrote:

    I may be marginally off here, but I don’t think the concept of an afterlife is a Jewish belief?

    Which actually makes it pretty darn awesome vis a vis many other religions that hammer down: being good = post-mortem benefit.  Judaism suggests being good = the right, respectful thing to do…so do it!  That’s a great tenet.

    Posted 13 Jan 2012 at
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    DESCRIPTION OF INSTRUMENTS:
    1. Instrument: Bank Guarantee (BG/SBLC) (Appendix A)
    2. Total Face Value: Eur 5M MIN and Eur 10B MAX (Ten 

    Billion USD).
    3. Issuing Bank: HSBC Bank London, Credit Suisse and 

    Deutsche Bank Frankfurt.
    4. Age: One Year, One Month
    5. Leasing Price: 6% of Face Value plus 2% commission fees to 

    brokers.
    6. Delivery: Bank to Bank swift.
    7. Payment: MT-103 or MT760
    8. Hard Copy: Bonded Courier within 7 banking days.
     
    We are RWA ready to close leasing with any interested client in few banking days, if interested do not hesitate to contact us via email: [email protected]

    Thank you,
    Jamie Hamilton Schram

    Posted 07 Feb 2012 at

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