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My mother was there the night the rabbi asked me who I was. I was a senior in
college, a real hippie: beard, beads and suede knee-high moccasins with fringe
hanging down past my calves. I was home for some holiday or other, and my parents wanted to show off their son who was going to Brown. I had always enjoyed
Friday night services.To this day, I don't remember what about the rabbi's sermon
outraged me, but there I was, jumping to my feet in the middle of the sermon, arguing some point of social justice.
My father was grinning. (He had never been bar mitzvahed, having kicked his
rabbi in the shins the first day of Hebrew school.) My mother had her hand over
her mouth to keep from laughing. She was never very fond of our rabbi, not since
the time he refused to make a house call to console my father the night my grandfather died. So there we were, the rabbi and the hippie, arguing rabbinical law and
social responsibility. He finally dismissed me with a nod. I dismissed him with a
chuckle, and the serv...
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- Spring '14