Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York
( A suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.)
and has worked in the ophthalmology
field of medicine for over 30 years.
This weekend we were joined by our good friends to enjoy a local play at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) performed by
4 very talented people called “Bad Jews”. The topic of who should get specific belongings of the deceased after the dust settled was a major part of the play along with intermarriage which is still a
topic discussed through the ages.
One of the grandsons' of the deceased carried a piece of jewelry that he owned and kept all through the holocaust that had a great amount of symbolism and meaning to the family. It was a necklace with the symbol of the Hebrew letter “ Chai” which means life to the Jewish people. Many Jews today wear that symbol and it was to be passed down to the family after the grandfathers death.
|The Hebrew letter Chai which means|
life is an integral part of Judaism.
It also has the numeric equivalent of
18. Many Jews when giving
charity give in multiples of 18.
The bickering and
fighting carried through the entire play until the eldest grandson introduced a non-Jew he wanted to marry and use the necklace to propose with.
The thought of the necklace going to a non-Jew whom did not understand what meaning the symbol had to this family was unbearable for one of the family members to accept. As she ripped it off the fiance her cousin wanted to marry, it became clear why it should have never been given to her.
The grandfather carried this symbol in his mouth to save it from the Germans during the holocaust and used it to propose to his wife after the war because it was all he had at the time in place of an engagement ring.
The final words in the play came out of mouth of the
non-Jew. All she was worried about at the time were the germs she may have contracted when the necklace was ripped off of her neck.
Interfaith marriages have been happening more and more in our country as the amount of Jews is not growing substantially. Most Jewish family have become much smaller with the parents only producing 2-3 children and do not have large families
of the past.
We are becoming assimilated and worry about the many years in the future down the line that if this interfaith continues at the rate of today...how many Jews will be left??
Further reading on "Bad Jews"~Bad Jews' doesn’t sound funny, but it is...~
|Judy, Judy, Judy! ;-)|