No Wiggle Room

When it came to religion, Mama had no wiggle room.  “You were born a Jew, so you have to be a Jew.”

For Mama it was both a reward and a burden.  “G-d picked the Jews because he wanted the best.” This meant that the rules he meant for us had to be followed.

We boys often asked, “Why…”

Her response was, “It is written somewhere, and He meant it to be.”

However, when we boys asked, “Mama avu iz es geshribn?” (Where is it written?) her reply was always, “Azoy iz es.  Der zeyde hot dos gezogt.” (This is the way it is.  Grandpa said it).

Mama accepted the role of a good Jewish wife.  She followed the rules of a “good Jewish woman.”

Mama had only one exception.  It came much later in life and after most of her grandchildren were born.  It happened one shabes, when she was called up to the Torah.  Up until then, it was a strict no, no.

When Mama sat down after saying the “borukh atos,” (the prayers) she was beaming like I had never seen before.  Her first statement was, “It’s too good for men only.” She went to shul (synagogue) every Saturday thereafter.