Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ernie K-Doe didn't know Sheila

I've heard that there is some old adage about having a Jewish mother-in-law...I'm not sure what it says exactly, and I believe it has a bit of a negative connotation, kinda like that 60's song by Ernie K-Doe; but whoever said it first didn't know my mother-in-law.
I gotta give my Mother in law major props, because every year around the holidays she goes out of her way to make me feel a little more at home in my new family.
For example, she called my wife the other day to ask what we were doing on Christmas Day (no, not to ask us out for Chinese food and a movie), and hoped we could get together to spend the day with the family. My wife said it was because she didn't want me to feel down and out that day. Every year she sends a Christmas card specifically addressed to me. She wraps my holiday gifts in green and red paper and ribbon, and wishes me a Merry Christmas on Christmas Day either by phone or in person.
I think that says alot about my mother-in-law -- she's always made it very clear about her love for the Jewish faith and culture, and its rich traditions (she is in fact Conservative). But at the same time, her acknowledgement of my own background, upbringing and most of all feelings, shows that she isn't simply ignoring the fact that I'm not a "part of the Tribe" (as my wife's friends say) or hoping that I'll have a sudden attack of JCE (Judaic Conversion Epiphiny - check the PDR, I think it's listed under "neuro disorders" - just kidding ;-))
While I know she probably hopes that someday I will make the leap, for now, she seems content with letting me be who I am. The ironic thing is that I became disillusioned with organized religion early on because it came off as intolerant (is that irony? that's always a tricky one, isn't it?). But then again the raging paradox of religious tolerance is a topic for another time...for now, I'll just look forward to running downstairs on December 25th, wolfing down some potato latkes, filling up on gelt, and tearing into my Christmas present.