Debra Darvickenhance your now in word and image
Because it’s time to reclaim the word that defines my co-religionists and me. The derogation and hatred embedded in the word “Jew” is so deep and so old that we Jews, more often than not, self-identify as Jewish not Jew. In naming this page J-E-W, I reclaim the word even as it discomfits me. The dashes signal that space for reclamation. The dashes signal to every Jew that the spaces are ours to fill, ours to define. It is for us to imbue the word with all that Jews strive for, and were commanded to be, since Moses stood on Mount Sinai.
My daughter and her husband live in a demographically rich community. Their neighbors’ ages span decades. Some are married; others are partnered. They are gender fluid and gender solid. The children of this community enjoy their parents’ love and attention and that of many honorary parents as well. They share garden bounty and drop off soup when someone is ill.
From time to time Emma mentions an especially beloved couple in their eighties. The husband was raised by his Jewish mother and non-pracitcing Catholic father. His wife is Lutheran. Emma didn’t mention what place, if any, Judaism figures in his life or if he and his wife have children. A week or so ago, she told me that the husband gave her his mother’s chai pendant. I was moved beyond words. Still am.
Emma told me she will wear the chai on the Jewish holidays and, “maybe other times as well.” Just like that as one year comes to a close and another begins a treasured memento, likely a century old, has been given new life. Wear it in good health, Emma. And may the woman who once wore it look down upon you with blessings.