The Convert and a Wedding

Yesterday I catered a small Chanukah office party for the staff’s kids.  I think I was afraid that after almost 5 months of not catering; somehow it would be difficult.  (Since I never really advertise most of my catering jobs used to come from the yeshiva – that is why such a slowdown.) But it wasn’t.  Took my youngest kids to serve and we had a great time.

The office got in touch with me from a convoluted way.  One of the woman’s husband from the office, worked in party planning and she had convinced her supervisor in using him.  I had catered their wedding, thus he thought to call me for the food.  I had loved working and putting together their wedding; let me tell you about it. (I have changed their names and some details.)

Shulamit had gotten in touch with me originally through her aunt who had recommended me.  (That is the best type of business.) Shulamit had been a “love child” from a relationship her mother had had with a wealthy black man. I don’t know the circumstances, but Shulamit, then Sharon (with the accent on the last syllable) grew up with her father’s aunt and uncle though she saw on some regularity her Jewish mother.  Her Aunt and Uncle brought Sharon up attending private protestant schools,  Ivy League University and help her land a prestigious job in Intel.

At one point, Sharon’s mother reminded her; because she was Jewish she therefore could take advantage of Birthright. Sharon came to Israel and fell in love.  Changing her name to Shulamit joined a seminar to learn all about Judaism and made Aliyah. I don’t think her adopted parents were so happy.

Meanwhile Steven was born in a regular Conservative Jewish home in the Los Angeles area. His father, having gone to Berkeley when he was young, fell in love with a Christian co-ed.  He asked her to marry him as long as she wouldn’t mind having a Jewish home.  His bride agreed and converted to Judaism by a Conservative Rabbi.  They did not keep kosher or Shabbos or many of the holidays just like most of the congregation; but the family was very involved with Israel’s survival, taking care of the poor and other “tikun olam” matters.

When Steven was ready to take the traditional Birthright trip he chose the religious program; which had most of their seminars in Aish Hatorha’s halls.  He really enjoyed the sessions in “proof of G-d”, and was exposed to many great speakers.  When he expressed his interest to the yeshiva they welcomed him, but exposed him to quite a surprise:  He was not Jewish.

The Orthodox do not accept conversion without a commitment to keep halachas, a dip in the mikva and for boys:  circumcision.  Steven took all of it on and reverted back to his Hebrew name his parents had given to him at his first bris:  Shimon.

So, Shimon, the one who was brought up Jewish, needed to convert. Shulamit, who was brought up black and Christian, was always Jewish. And that was when I met them, when they got married.  And yesterday, I got to meet their adorable one year old Jewish daughter.

I still love catering. It provides me a glimpse into those private details that show my customer’s depths.


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