Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Exercising My Jewish Roots

The Matthews family made a quick up-and-back trip to New York over the weekend for the bat mitzvah of our good family friend, Jamie Karpf. (Great job, Jamie!) A couple of quick observations...

  • After growing up in a well-mixed neighborhood in Silver Spring religion-wise, and after being married to a Jewish woman for 18 years, I must really be assimilating well to the Jewish culture. After the morning service, one of my acquaintances asked me if I speak Hebrew - which I don't. He thought I did because he noticed me apparently reading pretty convincingly during the bat mitzvah! I guess a career of faking phonetic pronunciations on the radio has helped me in that regard... plus, I had to learn a smidgin of hebrew for Brad's Bar Mitzvah 2 years ago, so some of it must have stuck!

  • Gas where I live near Olney, Maryland is running about 4.09 a gallon right now. If you pay a similar price, be THANKFUL for it. I noticed on our trip that gas prices in New Jersey, the nation's cheap gas capital are running about 3.89 a gallon - frankly not that much cheaper... And up where my friends live in Putnam County, New York, it's bend-over-and-take-it time! Regular self-serve up there averages about 4.45 a gallon - and folks in the hills of cold and snowy upstate New York actually NEED to own SUVs... OY!

  • Every time I attend a wedding or bar mitzvah, I am reminded just how bad today's music is. I know this statement makes me sound like an old fart, but without fail, the proof lies in the music at events like these... What are the songs that get people - young and old - to get up and dance... even today? Motown... Barry White... Kool and the Gang... Sister Sledge... Party music - even for young people - is firmly stuck in 1980! Even the group dances are showing their age now, but those are the songs that get people on their feet... the Macarena, the Electric Slide... the Cha Cha slide... I am fully convinced that if "Shout" and "Hot Hot Hot" had never been written, weddings and bar mitzvahs would have ceased to exist a long time ago!

After racing back from New York, we spent Sunday packing up to send the boys to camp for a month... Actually, my control-freak wife spent Sunday packing. I spent Sunday asking Robin if there was anything I could do to help... Being a Jewish mother (sorry for the stereotype, but this one happens to be true!), Robin had to personally make sure that she and only she ironed on labels in both boys' underwear! My wife readily admits that if I had been left in charge of packing, the job would have taken half the time, but she would have worried that I had missed something.

So I left the task to her, and she proceeded to overpack - sending the boys to camp with 20 pair of undies and 20 pair of socks each, even though the boys will get laundry service once a week! I awoke Monday at 6:30 am and found Robin racing around the house looking for clips that the boys could use to clip their yarmulkes to their heads for Friday night Shabbat services. This caused me to wonder... what makes Robin think the boys will actually wear their yarmulkes? And even if they did - what makes her think they would use a hair clip?

When we got to camp, Robin went off with our younger son, Spencer, to unpack, while I was left in charge of unpacking Brad. I found a laundry bag filled with at least 15 bath towels. I put four of them in a drawer and asked Brad what to do with the rest, and he said... "Shove them in my trunk, and I'll bring them home clean. That's what I've done every other year!"

That's what I love about summer camp... No matter how much the parents try to overprepare, the kids find a way to ignore it all - and get by with only what they really need. What they really need is a break from their Jewish mothers! (I love you, Robin!)

1 comment:

w3gg said...

Oy Veh...
John Matthews a member of the Tribe.
Hey Putz....remember you'll have to be re-circumsized first.

The Duke of Delray Beach
Burt Cohen