I went to the Kitchen Corner to buy a paring knife. I wandered up and down the aisles crammed with stationery and dish towels. I pondered all the paring knives on the wall, and as typical in such retail situations, got overwhelmed by the choices and freaked out by the copious packaging and decided to look for the knife in a thrift shop.
I was headed for the door when i suddenly remembered the other thing i had wanted to buy â€“ candles! Once a year i need to find chanukah candles, which means a ride out to Oak and 41st to go to the Jewish deli that carries the real item in the special blue box guaranteed kosher by the orthodox rabbinical. But i was not feeling so motivated.
My cheapo hack is that the Kitchen Corner often has long thin tapers which, when cut in half, fit perfectly in my mother’s silver menorah. I found the tapers and chose some in purple and black. I picked up one of those great little striped pot-scrubbers and handed it, along with the flat boxes of candles, to the motherly woman behind the till. She was wearing a blue t-shirt printed with a small Star of David, and one word: Israel.
The woman handed over my change with a quiet smile. I noticed the heat rise in my cheeks. One word, one star, so loadedâ€”with pain, and blame. Pride, conflict, otherness, shame. Courage. My people.