I live with my mother and sister in a South Miami condominium. During the last big hurricane, we lost electricity for the better part of week. Imagine my delight when I heard from my homeowners insurance South Florida agent that all of my spoilt food was covered by my policy. This was really good news, and it was nice for my agent to check in with me to see how I was doing. This saved me over a thousand dollars, due to Mom’s special dietary requirements.
You see, at age 62, Mother converted to Judaism, which came as a complete surprise since she raised us as Catholics. As her friends at the synagogue would say, “Who knew?” Here is how it came about. Mother used to work in New York at a large bank, Morgan Guarantee Trust. One of her work colleagues, who happened to be Jewish, left the bank a couple of years after Mother joined and immigrated to Israel. They corresponded regularly, and one day Mother received a post card that had a colorful display of the Hebrew alphabet on the front. For some reason, this post card really captured her imagination. She had it framed and hung it above her bed. The following year, she retired and moved in with me and my sister here in South Beach.
When she showed us the postcard, we thought it was very nice, but gave it no further thought. But shortly after she arrived, Mother enrolled in an Ulpan, which is a school that teaches the Hebrew language. We were delighted by her new activity, and apparently so was she. Within six months, she declared one Saturday morning that she wanted to check out the service at our local synagogue, Temple Emanuel. Wow! This we had to see, and we tagged along. She loved it! The people were so nice and she loved the Hebrew chanting.
She enrolled in a private Judaic study class with the rabbi, and a year later she converted, undergoing the ritual bathing sacrament, the mikvah. A year after that she had a big bat-mitzvah. Somewhere along the way, she convinced us to make our kitchen kosher. Well, when the hurricane hit, we had two freezers full of kosher meat that included beef, lamb, chicken and turkey (but no pork!). All had to be discarded when we lost electricity – oy vey! A month later, we received a check from our insurance agent that covered 90 percent of the loss. My sister and I remain Catholic, but between Hanukkah and Christmas, our Decembers are absolutely wild!