The Holocaust is over and I must rise from its ashes. This is my new mantra, based on the title of the excellent book by Avraham Burg. When I ordered the book, I figured even if it was terrible, it would be worth it for the title. But it is an EXCELLENT book, an incredible book.
His book and The Sabbath World, by Judith Shulevitz are doing more to help me unwind my Holocaust torch than I could ever have expected. Both books are helping me feel more at home with my odd brand of Judaism (which, as it turns out, isn't as odd as I thought). Increasing my comfort with my faith is a prerequisite to letting go of my life-shaping identification with the Holocaust, especially with that moment I've mentioned so often lately. You seriously can not understand how perfect these two books are. I am healing.
Just as I was thinking about this, standing in line at the bank yesterday, a guy at the next window said, "Hey, I like your Shalom tattoo." Turns out he is the owner of The Star and the Shamrock deli/tavern on H street in the very groovy Atlas District. It's worth clicking on the link to see how they decided to merge the worlds of Irish food and drink with Jewish food and drink. Very fun.
He showed me a star of David tattoo on his shoulder. It's very classy. Within the star is a geometric pattern featuring his initials. Wow. He, too, is a member of the Jewish tattoo brethren! He told me many people have been offended by the logo of the restaurant. He said they never intended to make it look like the yellow star European Jews were required to wear on their coats. It's not a reference to the Holocaust. It's supposed to be gold, like the gold stars people wear around their necks. He went on to say that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors and his parents were born in Germany right after the war.
He was very casual and friendly, invited me to come into the bar and have my tattoo photographed for their website. I'm thinking about it, though I'm not sure I'll take him up on it.
What an interesting experience. If not for the tattoo, he and I would never have had that brief conversation. The encounter reminded me of a recent convo with a neighbor. By chance we saw each other at Eastern market. She saw the tattoo after which we dropped deeply (and briefly) into a great conversation about our post modern Judaism.
The owner of the Star and Shamrock is doing just that, celebrating his Judaism in a post modern way, celebrating his spiritual inheritance within the culture in which he lives. He, for one, knows that the Holocaust is over. He has risen from its ashes.
So can I. Hell yeah. Onwards and upwards. Shalom.
Super wild cloud person yesterday afternoon. He was big, too.