Losing My Religion

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Manytimes one hears the words “and it changed my life forever,” or something to that effect; these words seem to be a bit overused and may have lost their meaning for some. So when I heard them from Jon, I must admit that even though he is a friend, I was a bit dubious.

Jon claimed that at the age of about thirteen a major change occurred for him. This change dealt with the religion Jon was born into, Judaism. This was the faith that his parents turned to at the age of twenty andbrought into the family after there had been no religious beliefs in the familylineage for quite a while, the religion in which his mother was Orthodox andhis father a rabbi.

This change began the morning Jon woke uplate, on purpose; cut off his waist-length red-orange payots, thetresses of hair behind the ears that unmistakably distinguish Orthodox maleJews from all other males; and went into the main hall of the religious dorm,in Israel, where his Jewish Orthodox classmates were praying. He was greeted with complete silence andthen, “Vos Hasta Geeton? GiArois Fin due!” “What have youdone? Go away!” from the rabbi. When he repeated the rabbi’s words to me inHebrew, it sent slight shivers down my arms, and I imagined that the words werespoken with the same tone and unkindness as they were ten years ago.

Sitting on Jon’sbed in his college dorm room, I felt comfortable with him, him in his shirtwith three little holes on the back of it, drinking a beer; and me in mysandals, though a cold day, to show off my freshly painted toenails. I was having fun; I enjoyed hearing Jon’slaugh and reminiscing with him about our crew practices, intertwining discussionsof changes going on in the team and what our common worries on the downfalls ofit were, with me asking him about his life, especially questions about religionand military service. We would skipfrom subject to subject, never losing track of what was being said, and beingable to switch back to a topic mentioned minutes before.
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