Yesterday, while driving, my husband got a phone call from his dear friend, P’nenah Goldstein. If you couldn’t already tell, P’nenah is Jewish. As in, she actually follows the rules and traditions of Judaism. Now, I’ve been a Jew my whole life, but aside from the occasional observance of a holiday here and there, it doesn’t really dictate anything I do. I’m what sometimes is referred to as faux-Jew. I was born this way, but know little about it other than that my east-coast family is huge and loud and loves Chinese food, and at one time ran the most popular deli in Newark (yes, turnpike altacockers, I’m a Peterman).
So yesterday, I learned something new and beautiful about my purported religion. It was P’nenah’s birthday on the Hebrew calendar, and as a member of the tribe, this is a day to contact all of her loved ones and bestow blessings on them.
And she took it seriously. These were planned, prepared phone calls. What she said to my husband almost made him crash the car he was so moved and touched, and he could not wait to get home and tell me. She blessed our marriage, she blessed our future children (which we very much want and have been struggling to create), she blessed our careers, she blessed our extended families (his parents and mine and our siblings, and even one family member we don’t speak to, but she felt needed to be included). She had some ritual language about what these blessings mean, and assured Rick that they would come to pass between now and her next birthday, then thanked him — thanked him! — for allowing her to give this tzedakah.
This is the most wonderful tradition I’ve ever heard of! I may just have to ramp up my heritage come birthday time next year to do this. What could be more rewarding? Now, I just need to figure out when my birthday is on the Hebrew calendar…
Enjoy life, be blessed and bless others. And always…be happy!