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From "At The Breakfast Table", Foreign Tales at Home


As we were raising our daughters unwittingly yet willingly, we raised them teaching them diversity. My husband told me to never call him a liberal. So, instead I said, “You were a feminist before I was.” He didn’t seem to mind that.

You see the word liberal to my husband who was born in 1956 meant someone who was not dedicated to democracy. Kind of like when my dad would call someone a ‘pinko-liberal-commy’. I didn’t buy into that. And today my husband would be considered a liberal, but its not a bad thing.

And as luck would have it, this former US Marine, their mother—one of our daughters recently called me, a “Femi-Nazi”. I would have laughed if I didn’t think she was so serious and needed some corralling on her accusation. I gently caressed her verbiage that day. It’s not that her mother mostly considered ‘The Bad Cop’ of her two parents had gone soft. Its that now I had to play the roll of her deceased father and being mom too. So, our daughters now get a two-fer in one parent—Yes, you can laugh.

Both of us parents read to our daughters daily, from the time that they were both adopted as babies from a communist country.  Both being from different areas. Both being of different religious backgrounds, quite certain of that.  And when my husband and I discussed raising children twelve days into our dating, we had no clue what lie ahead.

I had no clue of his full background nor had he of mine. Yet, he guessed correctly of my religious background. We already knew we were cultural opposites before the end of the twelfth day. And we discussed how we could make our differences work. The Hippy and the Marine fell in love and wanted to create a family. Yes, the Marine who only wanted to serve her country, its ideologies, its people and secretly thought she’d never get married. There was only service to others in her purview. No, not declaring sainthood here. Only declaring, I thought service was the only good I could do. Too, as to go unnoticed. Under the wire I’d arrived, did something, and left quietly into the night. I would say that was a practical thought. Help clean the slate for others and then depart.

So, to the raising of our daughters, my husband and I took equal part in raising them. He was big into swimming, hiking, skiing, reading, higher education, psychology, fixing things, engines, guitars, staying in shape and having hope. I was big into gardening, cooking, inventing,  canoeing/kayaking, fishing, ice skating (on real ice outside), human physiology, philosophy, boxing, the NFL, and having hope. We were both into distance running. He was the social otter and I the hermit.

My husband despised the idea of standing on an icy pond for an hour or two. I took it as part of life to help and encourage our daughters to be creative in the winter skating, sometimes to play hockey together. Too, as a parent watching for bad ice and sometimes having to shovel snow off the pond for the children to skate safely.

My husband joined us once on the icy pond. He shook his head. “Jody, this is brutal.” I responded, “Now you know why I wear more than one pair of socks and a sweater and two coats to do this.” I’d paused. Then continued, “And yes it is. Just think how I then have to get their ice- and snow-covered skates off so they can walk to the car in proper footwear.” I giggled.

He preferred snow, making snowmen and downhill skiing with them. I was the ski-mom—Taking videos of them coming down the mountain. Making certain my husband had time to ski alone on the mountains, as I’d have the girls ‘defrost’.  And then give them a bite to eat for a couple hours before going back out for more skiing with dad.

Of my husband and I,  I ruled most of the actions at the dining room table. Especially at the breakfast table. I was there five to six mornings a week with them. He was there usually one morning a week, sometimes two with them. It was because of what our jobs dictated. He had set hours as an inner-city high school math teacher. I ran my own full-time business, providing treatment for ill and injured pain patients from doctors. As well, treating a variety of athletes, professional, amateur, and recreational. Too, having a professional athletic career on the side.

So, four days a week there were lessons from me at the breakfast table before school. Which was Monday through Thursday. Then the babysitter would arrive early Friday morning and the children when they were old enough to read, read out loud to the babysitter at the breakfast table. It was an assignment I’d give them of three minutes each, usually concerning religion and or philosophy. Saturdays my husband took charge and made them ‘real’ French toast, helping me get them ready for ballet or karate.

As my husband and I had discussed twelve days into dating, fast-forward I kept my promise to him and his family. That I, this pseudo-Catholic Shiksa would raise them to know Judaism—then everything else.

To this day, if you were to walk into my home, you might not recognize any particular religious direction. For the books in our living room hutch are filled with practically every religious book imaginable. From the Oxford Annotated Study Bible to Jews for Jesus to the Quran to the Tao De Ching to the Five Books of Moses to the Saint James Bible Version (my husband enjoyed reading Christianity teachings that way), and so on. Too, I have the Bhagavad Gita upstairs near my bedside.

That same hutch unit holds, multicultural historical teachings on the religions of the world. Then bukoo books on philosophy, metaphysics, the universe and well everything around and under the sun, and out of our universe. Basically, ideas on science, math, medicine, and love. Yes, we read.

So, every morning at the breakfast table it was study the Torah for five minutes, have a discussion for a few minutes. Then onto reading parts of medical books and having a couple minutes of discussion on them. After that, we’d talk about the constitution and perhaps once a week a discussion on a current event item. Such to the likes of: gay marriage, the killings of Michael Brown, George Floyd, and so forth. Yes, heavy material, but real.

I remember that morning when our youngest was age eight, “Mom, two men can’t get married.” I replied, “What makes you think that?” She came back with, “It’s not normal.” I replied, “To you it’s not normal. But you’re not them.” Her face was one of shock. I continued, “You’re used to having daddy and I being heterosexual. That’s all you understand currently. But two men can get married. You and I may not understand that, but we can accept their decision. And otherwise, it’s none of our business. It’s only an opinion.”

The other night, as our oldest called from out the west. “Mom, I don’t understand politics.” I replied, “Yeah.” She continued, “We live in a bubble in our town.” I replied, "Oh yeah. They mostly think only one way, most haven’t with any regularity have read and don’t read.” She remarked, “But it’s like they’re still in the same— Everyone goes back home and does what everyone else has already done.” I replied, “Yes. That is why we have only one party that has been mayor for decades. It’s still the 1950s here. No one ran against him all three times. That shouldn’t be.”

We discussed the ongoing conflict in Gaza. I explained how differently Israel would’ve responded if it were Yitsak Rabin instead of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister. I explained Iran’s involvement and my theory as to why Iran backed the Hamas terrorist group to attack innocent Israeli concert goers in October. I explained how there had been Israeli protests against Prime Minister Netanyahu before the attack last year, and why.

She knew the history prior to 1946. But not much was taught in any schooling she’d had on foreign current events. I remarked, “No one reads up on this, they are self-involved. They think it doesn’t matter. But it does.” I told her that even with over 350 miles of tunnels that were built for terroristic activities under Gaza. That its one thing to destroy the tunnels, quite another thing taking more than double the innocent lives of who you think is your enemy. That’s genocide, no longer is it considered ‘an eye for an eye’.

Israel does know who their enemies would be. Too, the other nine Arab nations have also been at fault as they have not helped this situation of the Palestinians not having a country since 1947 or before. And that’s on those Arab countries. It’s no longer about oil. This is about the will of the Arab nations to find a way to annihilate a different religious country, that had been a democracy of sorts. They don’t want anything other than their own religion to be served up there. When they say, “From the river to the Sea”. It means the genocide of Israelis. It has been and is being promoted by PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Which is connected to the terrorist group called Hamas.

In theory, Iran thought if they encouraged such a terrorist action against Israel, that they would soften Biden. Too, forcing the United States to give into the release of the Six Billion dollars held in a South Korean bank, for ‘good’ behavior. Iran also saw the protests of the Israeli people against P.M. Netanyahu last year ramping up. They figured it was time to strike.

The tunnels under Gaza which were made by terrorists in the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah are supported by Iran. This shows that the attack in October 2023 on the Israeli concert goers were planned well in advance.

Did the Palestinian people living in Gaza have a clue about these terrorists and them living above their tunnels? If so, was it some or all of the people living in Gaza that knew? Were those Palestinians threatened by the terrorists or were they promised something of value by those terrorists? I can tell you now that those terrorists, neither those countries that backed them promised those Palestinians living in Gaza peace. I’m certain of that. Peace is never on the mind of a terrorist. Remember that.

Remember we have a conflict going on across  the Atlantic, democracy is at steak there. People here in the United States, over 98% haven’t seen war, neither have they served in our military. Yet, they conveniently choose to remain hatefully divided against a brother because of skin color, religion, gender, culture, politics, and so forth. Most cannot stomach the word rape, let alone the talks I’ve given on life.

We could blame unnamed people who we’ve tribally allowed to invade our sacred spaces. Or we can realize that terrorizing by threats, by words, by actions or any other means against one another is cowardice.--- Jody-Lynn Reicher


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