I went to a Catholic school, as did most of my freinds. We had a Jewish freind, who I'll call Lenny. Starsky and I got around to talking about religion with Lenny one day, on a rock in Central Park. He explained that the Jews didn't believe that Jesus was the messiah. We were really into the story about us worshiping the same God, and had him show us the Hebrew writing he was learning.
Well, he was writing Hebrew words in the dirt with a stick for us, when we asked him if he had a word for Jesus. He scrawled something in the dirt, and then spat on it, and said someting like "I spit on Jesus, he means nothing to Jews," before rubbing it out with his foot. Well, we proceeded to KICK HIS ASS, which was DEFINITELY NOT very Christian behavior. We stayed freinds, after the usual "cooling off" period, but I had my first personal taste of "Jew-hating." I am still shamed by this behavior, because I am sure that Jesus doesn't mind his name being spit on, especially by a Jewish 12 year-old. "Turn the other cheek" would be the right choice, but I was 12 as well.
Lenny was a good freind, and I learned much about Judaism from him, and other close freinds in later years. I embrace Judaism, as the roots of Christianity. This was just an incident where I showed a typical pre-teen aggression in the face of opposition to my beliefs.
Many Christians have gotten past this difference in belief; how long until the Muslims will? And what of the secular anti-semitism so prevalent in Europe these days? Why was I able to get beyond this difference, and so many others aren't? That's for another post.
PS: The friend I call "Lenny" in this story is actually Andy Kessler, who died on Mon. Aug. 11th, 2009, after an allergic reaction to a wasp sting. Though I haven't seen him in over 20 years, I'm deeply shocked and saddened. Read more about him in his New York Magazine obituary:
This story takes place before he started skateboarding. In future Tales From the Vendome posts, I will name him accurately. After seeing how he lived his life, I don't think he'd mind me identifying him. My condolences go out to his sister Jodi, and all his friends and family. He'll be missed.