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Friday, August 2, 2013

They Also Had to Tell Him His Puppy Was Adopted

Just got back from a lovely dinner at FOS's house, cooked by WOFOS.  The food was delicious, a mixture of traditional Jewish and Danish delicacies that I have decided to call the Resistance Special.  (Trademark!)  I now feel no need to eat for the next couple of days.  Alas, the night was not without drama. 

Like your good friend the Solipsist, FOS is Jewish.  While not Orthodox, he is relatively observant--call him Conservative-Plus (I, in contrast, am Atheo-Semitic, at best).  After their marriage, WOFOS converted to Judaism, and she has taken her commitments to the faith seriously: Witness, for example, the homemade matzo ball soup at tonight's dinner.  She did not, however, convert right away--not out of any particular reluctance, but merely due to the fact that, you know, life was happening, and she didn't have as much time as she would need to meet all the requirements.  For in case you didn't know, we Jews are selective: We don't just accept any Tom, Dick, or Brittney.  There are classes to be attended, tests to be taken.  Unlike Jews such as Yours Truly--"Legacies," if you will, born into the faith, who can slide by with mediocre grades ("Mensch's C's."?)--dedicated would-be converts have to work it!  And work it WOFOS did, completing her conversion some six years ago.

Here's the thing, though, her son (OK, SOFOS) didn't know this: He knew his Mom was a convert, but he had assumed that she had completed the process before he was born.  It was only tonight, during dinner, that he discovered the awful truth: He was six years old before his mother was Jewish.

Now, if you know anything about Judaic law, you know that Judaism is a matrilineal faith: If your mother is Jewish, so are you; if your mother is not Jewish, well, then, you're just one of the Goys.  SOFOS was highly disturbed to discover that he had "not been" Jewish until he was six years old.  FOS immediately assured his son that he was, in fact, Jewish, as he (FOS) had taken the newborn SOFOS to the mikvah (a sort of ritual Jewish bath) shortly after his birth and had him officially converted (newborns don't need to take all the tests).  SOFOS seemed somewhat skeptical, but after much reassurance--and a promise to take him to the mikvah again if he insisted--the matter was, at last, put to rest.

I would just like to say to SOFOS: Young man, any woman who prepares matzo ball soup, brisket, and chicken pot pies for a Shabbos dinner is as Jewish as you'll ever need anyone to be.

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