January 22, 2019

Checking My Mailbox

ou read me! You really read me!

When I perused the stack of letters in response to my recent column on the difficulty of finding friends in a new city, I not only felt less like a huge loser, but I was reminded what it means to have a community. When I question why being Jewish is important, I will look at those letters and know.

You sent me cards (one woman even made me a “friendship collage”), invited me to your homes for dinner, and generally proved the point that when you leap, the net will appear.

Once, as a reporter in San Francisco, I covered the story of a young Jewish woman who was bitten in the face by a hyena while on a safari in Africa. There’s no punch line here; this is a true story. When she woke up in the hospital, she was surrounded by every Jewish mother living in a 50-mile radius of Nairobi. That’s what I love about being Jewish.

Speaking of Jewish mothers, I also received much mail regarding my call for eligible Jewish men (I had asked mothers to describe their single sons). I’ll share some of their letters.

One cautionary note: I can’t vouch for these men, but their mothers can. First, Maya Spector Catanzarite describes her son, David, as “charming, handsome, athletic and intelligent. Stanford and USC grad. Teaches theater at an elite college. Speaks fluent German and Italian and is well-read and well-traveled. Is polite, tactful, personable, very good company and loves children. His interests are marriage, ecology and world peace.”

Polly Stone lists the virtues of her son, Josh: “A) A face everyone loves. B) Romantic to a fault. C) Extremely bright. This is no lie; he is attending USC-HUC to earn a double master’s degree. D) He is truly sweet, loving and thoughtful. E-Z) Too numerous to mention.”

I can’t be sure that this next letter was actually from Dan Satlow’s grandmother. Perhaps he shouldn’t have used his own return address label, or requested the photos be returned to “my grandson.” But what can I say; I was charmed. Encino Dan’s “grand-mother” writes: “He was never shy, that one, with the acting and singing and getting up in front of people. And he loves the outdoors — hiking, rafting and camping…. And that sense of humor, from his father, no doubt. Still, he’s a nice boy, very helpful and sensitive. P.S., if you speak with him, tell him he should call me more often.”Thanks to everyone who wrote — and to all of you who mentioned how difficult it is to meet Jewish women who aren’t “JAPs,” (an offensive term) that is a big, juicy apple of an issue, of which I’ll be taking a bite in an upcoming column.

Teresa Strasser is a twentysomething contributing writer for The Jewish Journal.

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