A short twitter Christmas Remembrance (from an atheist Jew)

I did this as a twitter story yesterday. So, in case you missed it…here it is. 


A short twitter Christmas remembrance (from an atheist jew). 

 6th grade. My best friend was Italian, Chris P. His mom, Mrs. P. was the nicest woman on earth. 

 Mrs. P. was always more aware of my judaism than I was. And thought even secular jews were kosher.

 So, I’d be a their house and she’d make amazing Italian feasts for the family, pasta and sauce redolent with pork.  

 And on my plate, a turkey sandwich on rye, which she would call “a nice jewish turkey sandwich”. I’d eat it while pining for the pasta and pork.

 But she was so sweet, and I knew it mattered to her. That she really cared. 

 And would always say things like: Your mother would kill me if I let you have that veal parm: it’s cheese and meat.

(my mom made veal parm). 

 Chris was less sensitive. Once, while playing ping pong, a ball I’d struck hit the net chord before dropping in. He called that a “cheap jew shot.”  Mrs. P. would not have liked that, I’d bet. 

 I didn’t actually care. I knew he didn’t mean it. At all. And would’ve beat up anyone else who said it to me. And the shot was kind of a cheap jew shot. 

 One Christmas, Chris and family took me on a trip to Boca Raton, Fla. And we went to Midnight Mass.  

 Mrs. P. and Mr. P. (a lawyer with, everyone whispered, deep mafia connections) sat in the back of the church. 

 Chris, his two sisters, and I sat in front. This was a big, huge, giant church.

 Lovely service. Nicest mass I ever attended.  

 And then came time for communion. I had no idea what it was. Chris said to follow him. So I did. 

On the line we went. I watched, fascinated, as the priest went through the ritual, blood and body and all that.

And I was hungry and thirsty. 

 Finally, I was at the front of the line. I had watched Chris, so I knew what to do.

Stuck out my tongue. Priest had the wafer ready to go, when… 

 I felt myself YANKED back by my shirt collar. Mrs. P., had come running from the very back of the church. 

 The entire congregation watched as she dragged me away from the alter. “He’s a jew! His mother would kill me!” she said.

 Which made me, ya know, a little self-conscious. 

But it also led to an honest conversation later that night which ended with me finally getting to dig in to that delicious, mind-blowingly great pasta.  

So in the end, it was a Merry Christmas for all. Which this atheist Jew hopes all of you have as well.

Published by

Brian Koppelman

I'm co-creator/Executive producer of Showtime's Billions. Some of the films I've either written/produced/directed are Solitary Man, Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen, Knockaround Guys, Runaway Jury, The Girlfriend Experience & the 30/30 Documentary on Jimmy Connors. I'm also the host of the podcast The Moment. iTunes.com/TheMoment

5 thoughts on “A short twitter Christmas Remembrance (from an atheist Jew)”

  1. This reminds me of when I was backpacking in Central America. I JUST entered a dormitory in Puerto escundido, Mexico. It was six or seven am, so i tried my best not to wake up the sleepers. However, one aussie guy woke up, asking me where I’m from.

    Me: israel
    Him: how come you’re not wearing black, with atop hat and a beard?
    Me: you’re kiddin, right? You know we’re not all like that?
    Him: I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be
    Me: …

  2. I never quite had that experience, though my best friend growing up was Italian Roman Catholic and I spent a lot of time with his family. Curiously, my mom’s best friend growing up was also Italian Roman Catholic. Our folkways just match up so well: maternal guilt, lots of food, loving expressed as yelling, etc.

  3. Hilarious and horrifyingly embarrassing moment. My brother had a similar one: we had a house fire on Christmas Eve as everyone was preparing to come home from shopping or playing at friends’ houses .The whole block was staring at the fireman do their thing. My Mom did a quick head count ( five kids, one missing) as she approached the house and yelled out ” Find PETER, he’s the weird one. He always plays or sleeps in the closet!” She was anguished. Peter waved and popped his head out, mortified. ” I’m here,Ma!”

    The crowd laughed, he crawled into a hole. She wept with relief. The firemen put out the fire and their was minimal damage. Except to Peter’s reputation and image.

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