While my aunt was
And its been like that ever since.
Over time I began to look into Judaism and found that I felt more drawn to it than any other religion I had been flirting with. Christianity scared me when I was younger; in my mind it looked like God was just coming down and touching people making them pass out and holler. Later in my teens I flirted with the idea of Islam and although I felt better there than with Christianity it still wasn't an easy fit.
A year or so ago I met a man at a Borders bookstore. We were both looking in the poetry section and he asked me if I knew much about the book I had picked up and suggested another one instead. ("Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" by Pablo Neruda in case you were wondering.) I could tell he was older, how much so I wouldn't know until our third time meeting where we met for coffee (tea, actually) and discussed the book.
He was an odd looking guy; he, much like the man from my childhood, wore all black and a wide brimmed black hat. He had long peyes (uncut sideburns) and vibrant green eyes and an amazing smile. And we dated for roughly 8 months. I think we were a crazy sight; him in all his glory and I, a full foot shorter in sneakers and t-shirts and big hoop earrings. Visually we didn't fit, but in most other aspects we did. In the end though, it wasn't the right fit or the right time.
I felt real with him. I know it's odd to say that before I felt like a piece of something, a figment of my own imagination. He brought out what was real with me; my anxiety, my jealousy, my short-sightedness...All the bad things were called to the carpet, but immediately after we would talk about the good in me, my willingness to try, my intelligence, my compassion. It was a give and take relationship that made me a better person and gave me a great respect for his perspective and the perspective his religion gave him.
I think in that fairytale setting so long ago I saw something real. I saw something that could withstand time, language, race and whatever other qualifiers a person can come up with. And I saw it in a man, unashamed of who he was, where he came from or who (and what) he represented to the world. And there started my appreciation, respect and admiration of Jewish men.