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Have you no shame? Honest to Mike, have you absolutely no shame?For the record, I am not Jewish, no big surprise there. I was, in my younger days, a Shabbat Goy. When I went to live with my aunt in Massachusetts, I found we were the only black people in the neighborhood. I was lonely and negotiating my own set of social landmines. On our street lived the Rabbi and the Cantor of the shul at the top of the street (we lived on a hill). One day, Auntie told me she volunteered me to work for the rabbi -- at no cost. The work was simple, go to his house on Friday and Saturday, turn on or off lights and the TV, make sure the doors were locked, run any errands he might need on Saturday, that sort of thing. I thought it was kind of stupid (especially for no pay), but I did it anyway.The Rabbi's wife was a nice lady, plump and kind of dowdy, but nice in a motherly sort of way. Once she learned I liked latkes, she made sure there was a plate piled high with them waiting for me when I went over. She would talk to me on Fridays before sunset, when I went to her house after school. One day I commented on her bracelets, saying how much I liked them. See, the Rabbi's wife always wore broad bracelets, at least three inches wide, on her arm. That one day she took them off to show me her tattoos, a series of numbers. I was not unaware of the Holocaust. We had to read The Diary of Anne Frank and knew full well the horrors inflicted on an entire people by Hitler. Still, it a was an abstract until she showed me those numbers on her arm and took me through her house and showed me pictures of real people, her relatives, who went up in smoke during that terrible time. Seeing those numbers on the Rabbis' wife's arm, seeing those pictures of her murdered relatives, I broke down and cried. It was no longer abstract, it was so real I could hear the slaughtered's voices talking to me through the passage of time. She said something to me that made an impact on my entire life: "We have our Holocaust, your people have your Middle Passage. Forgive, but never forget."The Rabbi's wife passed away about fifteen years ago. Every time I eat a latke I think of her. I can hear her voice and smell that perfume she always wore, if just for a second. And I can see those faded numbers on her arm, the ones she always covered with those pretty bracelets. I have one of them in my jewelry box. Her son gave me one after her funeral, but I can't bring myself to wear it.Again I repeat, have you no shame? How dare you compare those dead to cows and pigs. Hitler compared the Jews to vermin, rats and mice. How are you any better?Uhura
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