Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hebrew Mathematics



“You're one-quarter Jewish,” I was told
at seventeen. I suppose you might wonder why
my father chose to wait till I was that old:
Childhood taunts had taught him the silent lie.
But I went straightaway to Doris, my best friend,
to tell her this shiksa was not exactly pure
WASP after all, thinking this would send
my Jewish pal into rhapsodies for sure.
Um…it didn’t happen precisely that way.
Actually, Doris presented a negative vibe:
She didn’t believe me. Her family had their say
as well, refusing to welcome me into the Tribe.
I still try to brag, but despite my Jewish pride,
one-quarter doesn’t count on the father’s side.

4 comments:

Deloney said...

Tribal loyalty and all that is a curious thing. I went through it myself about 15 years ago when I "explored my Celtic roots". To me it was just romance but I met some really creepy people. For them it wasn't romance but politics, and vicious politics. I mean these people were on the verge of saying: "Your papers, please!" Personally I think we should all take our ethnic/religious backgrounds with a big fat grain of salt.

Susan said...

Of course I agree. I can think of some people I'd like to give that advice to. Not to mention some governments, etc. Maybe you can tell them. :-)

In Otter Space said...

When I was pregnant with our third child my husband (then 33 1/3) discovered he was also at least 1/4 Jewish. His father has always been so secrective. It shocked my husband; not to mention being told a lie by omission all those years.

Susan said...

Sad to say, his father was probably tormented in childhood for it, like my dad.