Every year at this time my nephew Yitzhak, nee Eric, comes from Israel to visit me and the rest of the family and to pray at his mother’s grave.
Yitz and I are alike in many ways. We look alike, we have exactly the same sense of humor and we both love to be together.
There is a hierarchy in this relationship. Even though I am only 11 years older than he is I am still the Aunt.
There’s another difference between us. He really loves God. I mean REALLY loves him. I’m more of an “I’ll talk to you when I need you” kind of girl but for the most part we (me and God) are merely acquaintances.
But I do love Yitzhak and I live by his rules when he’s here. Even that crazy one about not eating nuts that aren’t kosher because he isn’t allowed to eat worms, which happen to be a mainstay of my diet, worms, I mean.
I have a huge black bag that I keep behind my couch filled with kosher pots and knives and bowls. I take them out each year when he comes and put them back when he leaves.
How did they get koshered? My friend Susan and I went to a Grocery store in Brooklyn where on the outside of the store they had a brick wall with a hole in it and a basket that you would put the items in and then lower it into some water that I assume had been blessed by a rabbi, you know, holy water. Voila! Kosher.
Usually when Yitz comes to NYC, his brothers come into the City and we all go out to a Glatt Kosher restaurant. This time I thought it would be more fun if we brought food into my house.
Not trusting me not to buy stuff that wouldn’t turn him into a goy at the first bite he decided to bring back food from Brooklyn where he went each morning to pray.
He carried a box as big as a coffin and twice as heavy (Jews must always make sure that everyone can have seconds) on two trains so that when his two brothers and my sister came we could all have a lovely dinner.
Unfortunately when he went to take a nap I took the three chickens out of their packaging and put them in a disposable aluminum pan so I could heat them in the oven.
I say unfortunately because he almost burst out crying when he saw what I had done. It seems that my oven is so full of cooties that for him to eat anything that had been warmed in it meant the Jewish equivalent of rabies.
Luckily he was able to catch it before I actually put it in said oven. He did mention under his breath about 500 times that he wished I had asked him before throwing away the packaging.
The visit went very well. When I took him to the airport this morning we did our usual bickering with him looking at his phone and telling me that the route I had chosen was 9 minutes longer than the way his app preferred.
After a few “Why are you turning here’s” he finally put his phone away because as he said “He was using up his battery and I wasn’t listening to him anyway”.
We continued the trip happily with me reassuring him that though when I die he’ll probably regret making such a big fucking deal about the chicken packaging, I wanted him to know that eventually I’d probably forgive him for that so no need to beat himself up about it.
With that little guilt trip and lots of hugs and kisses, I saw him off. I am my mother’s daughter.