Holocaust · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · teaching

I overdid it, thank G-d!

I definitely overdid it today trying to squeeze in seeing a bunch of friends in one day. OUCH.

This morning, I saw my best friend from my teaching days. As it happens, she is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor! Yeah, this is not the beginning of a joke. We have been trying for years to get our husbands in the same room just so we can make THAT joke.

This afternoon, fellow blogger MaNishtana made a death-defying Temple of Doom inspired tri-boro leap across New York City just to say his goodbyes in person. Mr. MaNisthana and I put in one fine good “shomer negia hug,” my variation of a fibro “air hug” (detailed in this piece I wrote for Chabad, it basically involves not actually hugging but wiggling your hands in the air like crazy jazz hands while simulating a hug…. Yeah, yeah, laugh if you will but it doesn’t hurt and it’s funny enough to send friends who are shomer negia and of the opposite sex (and even the same sex since often hugs can be very painful for me) into fits of full-on giggles. Unfortunately because of a massive 30-minute parking snafu, he didn’t get the benefit of my husband’s rabbinical Yeshivat “Chuggaveih” hug. (If you have ever met Yeshivat Chovevei Torah founder, Rabbi Avi Weiss, then you’ve had a chuggaveih moment.)
And finally tonight, I had dinner, possibly for the last time in a long time, at NoiDue in Manhattan. This is not a restaurant review, I swear but if you live anywhere near NoiDue, you must go eat there RIGHT NOW. They don’t have reservations yet but I promise you that if you order their tuna burger, the wait will be worth it…or the presentation alone if not the amazing taste. We ordered the tuna burger once by mistake, not realizing it was a whopping $27 bucks but we’ve never, ever had better fish ever. I wish I’d taken a photo of the onion ring tower before we decimated it (not by eating, just putting it aside!). Oh right, for dessert, go for the unbelievable dulce de leche, for which I heartily downed three Lactaid pills in quick succession tonight. It’s so rich, one Lactaid pill simply doesn’t cut it!!!
Okay, where was I? Ahem. Oh, so who was I having this completamente delicioso dinner with? Well, none other than the 80-something-year-old powerhouse, Hannelore “may she live until 120!” Marx, the Holocaust survivor who by sharing her story with my eighth grade English class inspired me to convert.
Hosting us all this evening was Mr. Miner, the teacher who asked her to come speak to our class seventeen years ago. Without a doubt, Mr. Miner is the closest thing I have ever had resembling a father and when I think of Father’s Day (though I’ve always been too shy to send him a card!), I can’t imagine someone I would want to celebrate more. He is a living legend who has taught in Washington Heights probably for longer than I’ve been alive (I’ll be 30 in July) and I can’t imagine how many students will miss out if he ever, G-d forbid, retires.
Plus once again, we invited along the OTHER Dominican convert that Hannelore ALSO inspired to convert! Yeah, the world is literally THAT small.
It never ceases to amaze me how simply sharing your story, just talking about how you survived and how you made it through “the best of times and the worse of times,” can change irrevocably change someone’s entire life forever. I am completely and utterly blessed to fully understand just how powerful telling your story and listening to those of others can truly be.

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