Encounters with Jews

The question I have asked myself many times over is why are the Jewish people disliked? I can say that I really don’t know for sure.

My experience with this problem began many years ago when I was living In the barrio on Laredo street. Our barrio went all the way down from the street to a drainage downhill and had about ten shanties’. My family was subjected to paying rent and my grandmother would always say, “hay viene la judea”, “here comes the Jew lady”. I didn’t know what she meant but she was probably exposed to disliking Jews.

Growing up and experiencing life in the military, I have known American Jewish soldiers but they mostly stayed by themselves. In talking to them, they used a lot of Yiddish words which at that time I didn’t understand. Remember that I came from the barrio and I had to learn everything about the outside world including different race of people and their language plus there were ignorant and uneducated people that I had to contend with. Also, they had to contend with me. For example, “if you’re from Texas where are your cowboy boots?

In time I learned the meaning of those Yiddish words. While traveling in New York City, I occasioned to listen to people talking in English but using Yiddish words in between. They fascinated me because I heard Frank Sinatra in his movies using those same terms to describe a non-Jewish person, Like “Goy” or “Oy” to express surprise. I know now that there are many Yiddish words that are used in common every day English. I hesitate to list them because there so many and people don’t even know they’re speaking Yiddish. Words like “glitch” “bagel” “kosher” “klutz” and many more.

After leaving the military and getting some higher education, I learned that a lot of businesses were owned by Jewish families. Here in San Antonio some theaters and downtown stores mostly used by Hispanics were owned by Jews. Quite a revelation to me. Most people here knew that already.

Maybe it’s a hereditarily thing that is passed by people who are jealous of the Jews ability to manage their income and acquire property. Also, a lot of people hate the Jews because they were responsible for the crucifixion of the Messiah. A while back, there were Jews called Zionist because they believed in getting back their own country. All of these things relate to the dislike of Jews.

According to history the Jews were more educated in financial matters and were called upon to work as bookkeepers by the powers that be and became a resource for other countries in the Middle East and Europe. I believe that from those years came a dislike for Jews around the world because they appear more wealthy. It doesn’t matter if a Jew has another profession, they are still associated with the money lenders in Jerusalem.

While talking with my wife and asking her if she knew any Jews while growing up, she remembers vendors who were Jews that came by selling stuff. She also remembers that there was a Jewish school downtown where she used to pass by when she went shopping on weekends with her grandmother.

I think of myself as being tolerant of all religions whether good or bad. The Jews themselves are a race whether they follow their religion or not. If I met them on the street, I wouldn’t know if they were Jews unless they or somebody told me. I would respect them but, If I had any dealings with them, my mind would go back in time and cautiously remember what my grandmother would say, “here comes the Jews”.  Would I follow her thinking?

What is a Miracle?

OK, so I’m a softie for Christmas stories during the Christmas holidays. They show some good stories, romantic or otherwise. There are some miracle stories featuring Angels on earth, The Virgin Mary. But, that’s not the real miracles.

Coming to down to earth reality stories, nothing beats the everyday miracles that go on every day. The birth of a baby for instance. There is now technology that traces a babies’ birth from its conception. They can tell a babys gender. However, it is the last seconds that define its birth or not. There is sociological difference in every birth which I won’t go into now.

Let’s take another example. Our priest and pastors are normally at the front of every church ministering to their flock. How do you think they were called to that ministry? They were regular guys growing up in indifferent environments and cultures going through life and not even thinking about a religious life. Something called them to their vocation. That’s what I call a miracle.

The firemen and police officers make a daily sacrifice being ready for an incident that they have to go out and respond and maybe cause their lives. We believe that every kid aspires to become one of these guys by looking up to their bravery. However, when they grow up they see the many dangers they might have to face and still apply for those positions. That’s a miracle.

When a child is lost or maybe kidnapped there is an amber alert telling everybody of the situation. Volunteers from every walk of life respond to look for that child. Sometimes they bring equipment or resources to assist the main body of searchers. The question is where did we get such people? It’s a miracle that they even responded.

We get every day miracles by people responding to a fundraiser to help a floundering church. Also, raising toys for tot, an annual event for children who won’t be getting any toys because of the economy. How did event come to be? Who were the people that set up the logistics? Those are the miracles!

Everybody on this earth will always respond to a calamity. We are now on the verge of a worldwide pandemic that has killed millions of people. We have nurses and doctors who fighting in the forefront to save those affected by this virus. They have long shifts and rest for a few hours. They don’t back down because they are called to their profession. They could easily say that they wouldn’t like to be infected. What I’m saying is that without them, we would be in worse trouble. They are the miracle workers.

Something in our humanity calls on us to help the needy. Not everybody has that calling. It’s in our soul that reaches out to us and tugs our heart when we hear somebody in trouble. That in itself is the miracle of life.