Monday, September 11, 2006

My life as a shiksa

A few days ago my best friend's grandfather, a dear man I'd met a couple of times, died unexpectedly. They needed someone who knew the grandmother's house to let the caterers in and show them around while the family was at the funeral and burial. It being a Jewish family, the whole thing had to be pulled together in a matter of hours.

So yesterday I took the train to Delaware to be a sabbath goy (or funeral goy, I suppose). The caterers were at least as clueless as I was about Jewish food, but we managed fine until we came to the dish designated for pickled herring. We searched all over the house for herring and were completely baffled. I was looking for something like Danish herring and it's anybody's guess what the other two were looking for, so we poked at salmon fillets and peered in tupperware bowls to no avail until some relatives arrived back at the house and told us it was in a jar marked Vita. Suddenly said jar appeared before our eyes on the top shelf of the fridge.

When everyone arrived back home there was a meal and the first of a series of religious services. It was the first real Jewish service I had been to, though I think I was a little more comfortable with it than a couple of the other goyim there. I'm not a fan of the smite-our-enemies type texts, but some of it was beautiful.

I think a chance to observe the workings of any other family is always an education, and this was certainly a moving one. Mostly I'm honored that I could help out a bit, that they asked me to be part of it. If this were a Jane Austen novel, this would be the turning point in the plot. Clearly my life is not a Jane Austen novel.

1 comment:

sandy said...

too bad roomie, i wish mine was too. but you never can sometimes be v. unexpected.
by the way, i hate that herring, and the one from ikea is so much better! much love, me.