― Cesar Chavez
While I am not an overtly religious person, I am a strongly traditional one. Arthur and I have always wanted our children to have a strong sense of their own identity with an equally strong sense of acceptance for the cultural identities of others. Their friends have always been culturally diverse (Mike’s table of friends at his Bar Mitzvah looked more like a U.N. Conference than a religious gathering) and equally accepting of each-other’s traditions.
I was raised decorating our neighbor’s Christmas tree, and I carried on the tradition of sharing cultures by sharing my potato pancake recipe with Beth’s third grade class. That is why it is a mystery to me when I see the hatred that is being spewed each day by people who feel that their identity is being trampled upon by people whose traditions are different than their own.
I understand the desire to preserve ones own culture. There is something so very special about performing the same rites that your parents, grandparents and great grandparents performed before you. When Arthur tells the story of Passover at the first Seder each year, I flash back to my grandparents' Seder and my Zeyda telling the very same story. Lighting the candles for the eight nights of Chanukah brings me closer to those who did the same for many years past and those who were forbidden to do so during the dark years of the holocaust.
Why then would I ever want to deny anyone the right to enjoy his/her own traditions. I am proud to be an American and am proud to wave the American Flag that symbolizes all that we stand for, which includes years of being a melting pot of wonderful cultures. Much of the food that we eat and the music that we listen to were brought to America by immigrants who generously shared their traditions with us.
Instead of believing that we will be outnumbered by those who seek to settle here, we need to realize that we are only getting stronger. A culturally mixed neighborhood is not something to fear, it is something to embrace, and the education that we receive from our neighbors will make us a more complete nation.
Although I have tried to avoid Washington based novels this year, I did let one slip in. Death Votes Last: a Jeff Trask Crime Drama by Marc Rainer piqued my interest and I am sharing it with you this week. We also have a new book reviewed on our guest reviewer page, so enjoy.
As always, a complete review of my book follows this blog.