Hello again, friends! Since signing off six weeks ago, the Yenta family has arrived safe and sound in Savannah, GA after a major cross country
But before I regale you with tales of Jewish experiences in the most unexpected places, let me thank the immensely gifted and resourceful Pepe Pringos for manning the helm while I was away from any wireless. His skills and perspective welcome here anytime. Muchas gracias, amigo!
Even though I was away from online Jewish life, the world itself had plenty of reminders: After packing up our home and leaving our beloved Fairfax, CA on June 20, our trusty minivan (she’s ugly, but she gets the job done) took us through Yosemite, with its stunning geology and skyscraping waterfalls, to Monument Valley, AZ, close to where this photo was taken. Kayenta, AZ is on the Navajo Indian reservation, providing us endless amusement as this Yenta searched for possible Native American cousins.
Strangely enough, we actually found some: At the tiny outpost of Four Corners the junction of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado an Israeli flag flew proudly above one of the souvenir stalls selling turquoise necklaces, dreamcatchers and sand paintings. When I remarked to the vendor that this was a pretty unusual place to encounter an Israeli flag, he answered in the distinguished, dignified way of the Navajo that “We love Jesus, so we love Israel and all its people. We are proud to support Israel.” Rather than point out the disturbing theological paradox of this statement, I felt that I had found a comrade out in the middle of desert nowhere and bought three dreamcatchers.
It was some time before we encountered anymore Jewish symbolism as we drove through the big fat Bible Belt that squeezes America. We passed under the shadow of the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere in Texas, and shared an unfortunate stretch of highway with a woman, her two children and a “White Power” bumper sticker affixed to their white Chevy in Oklahoma. Fortunately, a visit to the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas restored out faith in America’s intellectual and diplomatic civility as Bill himself narrated the virtual tour of his accomplishments.
Memphis, TN made us feel right at home well, actually, the home was Elvis’. El Yenta Man broke out his zebra pants to wear at Graceland, where many Jewish-themed items were on display in the mansion, the chai necklace the King wore through most of 1977 and a kabbalistic patch. But Elvis’ Jewish roots shouldn’t surprise you at the very least, he served as one family’s Shabbos goy in his teen years.
After a detour through the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina, the minivan deposited us at Tybee Island, Georgia just in time for Fourth of July fireworks and a very special guest: Pepe Pringos himself! En route with his Canadian lady to Miami, Pepe stopped in to witness the sky show and entertain three generations with some good old-fashioned Columbian Jewish freestyle rapping. It was truly a Yenta family moment. And a shehekianu moment as well if there was ever a time to thank God for bringing us to any day, it was the day all of us arrived safe and sound from one end of the country to the other.
Now that I’m wired, I’ll see what I can do to catch up on all the Jewishy doing around the globe, which one doesn’t need a router to know that it ain’t all good news. But I’d rather take a Katushya rocket in the tushy than let the bastards get me down.