Friday, December 26, 2014

Maria the phlebotomist proceeded to take my blood pressure, check my hemoglobin, and temperature, all the routin-ities of donating blood. Following the congenial code of conversation for this time of winter, I wished Maria happy holidays and asked her how her Christmas was. She was overjoyed about getting to sleep in late and about her special non alcoholic eggnog which swapped rum for pineapple juice. She hosted her husband's side of the family and spent the day cooking for 10 guests. Sighing the memory away she continued the complimentary reciprocation and asked about my St. Nick's Day, to which I responded that I don't celebrate Christmas. She didn't seem surprised at all. 

"My daughter's boyfriend is Jewish, he actually spent Christmas with us. He also has never tried eggnog." (I told her I had never tried eggnog since the idea of yolk and rum was less yum and more rolk to me.) 

She went on to tell me how her daughter and the boy, Coby,  met in debate team. She told me about how smart he is, how he is placed in accelerated math. She told me how he asked to eat around the Christmas tree, how he had never seen a pine so decoratively bedecked. She said it smelled lovely. I mustered a faint smile and watched the needle of the pressure gauge on the ballooned gadget fall. 

I am not so naive as to think that interfaith couples don't occur, because they do, but for some reason, this one highschooler "Coby," struck a cord with me. I looked at Maria as she prepared the bags and tubes that would soon be drawing blood from me and assessed that she was a very pretty woman. Her hazel skin held green eyes with long lashes peeking out just below straight blonde bangs. She seemed to be one of those natural beauties who stopped aging and baffled cosmetologists. If her daughter took after her mother, its no wonder why Coby was slurping eggnog to the tunes of Jingle Bells. 

This phenomena is not gender contingent: I've seen just as many Jewish boys "out-sourcing" as Jewish girls. Throughout college I've met a number of interfaith couples. One girl I met has been dating a non-Jewish guy for about 2 years, they plan to get married after he converts. In one of my Journalism classes I befriended a guy whose father's side were European Jews during WW2 and whose mother's side were German and part of the National Socialist Party! 

With the United Synagogue Youth (USY) dropping the ban against their national board members interdating, the organization went on to say that observance of Shabbat and holidays are not required either. USY recognizes the "importance of dating within the Jewish community and treating each person with the recognition that they were created Betzelem Elohim (in the image of God)," as reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I am an advocate of equality and put my trust into all humankind being created in G-d's image, yet as I watched Maria clamp down on the looping blood tubes indicating that the bag was full, I couldn't help but muse over the contents of that blood. 

 In that pint of blood swirled yiddush seforim and Russian honey balls, misnagdim, chasidut, and flairs of Zionism. It was infused with long noses, blue eyes, and recessive tall genes. It wasn't just blood but Dam (Hebrew word for blood) and not just Dam but all 10 of the biblical plagues. It's a a sack of collective memory, a bloodline if you will. It's that link, that bloodline that Orthodox Jews are so afraid of losing in this transitioning world. 

So as I held my warm liquid sack of  A negative cells, and smiled for a Facebook photo. I couldn't help but feel distress over the "Cobys" of the world who preferred the taste of pineapple eggnog and the "lovely" smell of pine. 

A wounded idealist

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