My former wife Susan, the mother of all four of our children, has a framed photograph on her wall, of her grandmother’s or great-grandmother’s wedding, I’m not sure which. There is Hebrew writing all around the outside of the picture. My son and his Jewish girl friend were over one day, and she said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were Jewish?”
Susan’s last name is Prugh which is an Anglicized version of the family’s real German name Brugh. My guess is that Susan is indeed Jewish, and that her kinsfolk back in Great Britain changed their name in order to assimilate, a common practice among Jews living in England.
So that means our kids are Jewish. When I first heard about this, very recently from my youngest son, I momentarily thought that that meant that I was Jewish too! I was quickly disillusioned as I realized that it wasn’t about me. Anyway, I am jealous.
I’ve been reading Christopher Hitchens’ autobiography, Hitch22, A Memoir. He found out that his mother was Jewish when he was middle-aged. Her mother’s family had changed their name, and his mother was determined that her children would become part of the British upper class.
So their Jewishness was hidden. Once he had found it out, he went to visit his Jewish grandmother. She told him all about it. She said that she had always seen it in him and his brother because they had the “Jewish brains”.
I want Jewish brains. I am a Jewophile. Hitchens says that the reason that the Jews are, and have always been, so hated is because they saw through both Jesus and Mohammed, and have never been forgiven for it.
The first century sage Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai once said: “If you should happen to be holding a sapling in your hand when they tell you that the Messiah has arrived, first plant the sapling and then go out and greet the Messiah.” An old Jewish story tells of a Russian Jew who was paid a ruble a month by the community council to stand at the outskirts of town so that he could be the first person to greet the Messiah upon his arrival. When a friend said to him, “But the pay is so low,” the man replied: “True, but the job is permanent.”