When my son Sam was born, we lived in New York City. I used to take him to the playgrounds in Central Park and it was only a matter of time before Sam would find another kid to build a sandcastle with or join in a game of tag. The great thing about those days was the variety of kids Sam played with, all reflecting the melting pot of New York City.
When Sam moved into a fraternity house this year, his sophomore year, it was like those playground days all over, with Sam becoming friends with a lot of peers from diverse backgrounds. Sam brought his own uniqueness to the mix as the only Jewish kid in his fraternity house.
I suppose it was the Jewish mother in me that relishs sending him packages of challah and holiday goodies to nourish not only his stomach but also his identity. For example, a couple of weeks ago, for Purim, I sent him a big package with one of our Purim Bakery Towers—6 lbs of Hamentashen, rugelach and mini black and whites, along with a Purim Candy Platter and challahs. And I dreaded the day when, in one of our weekly video chats, he’d say, “Mom, enough with Jewish treats!”
Imagine the thrill I got last night when he reported that he and his 14 house mates LOVED the stuff. Not only that, but Sam wants Josh and me to come to the fraternity’s family picnic in May. While visiting, he wants me to cook a “Jewish meal” for the house. He wants to help and thinks maybe some of the other guys will want to, too.
I’m fairly certain Sam has no idea how happy this invitation makes me. He’s an ambassador of Jewish culture by introducing Jewish food and traditions to his housemates. Some of them had never met a Jew before Sam, and now they are loving our culture and traditions (or just free food, and who wouldn’t?). Once again, in my Challah Connection journey, the universe has proven that no matter our religion or our background, no matter if we are from the Middle East, the Midwest, or the Upper West Side, we all come together over food.
Now I am planning what I’m going to cook and where I am going to shop in this small town in Western PA where the greatest shopping attraction is Walmart. So far I am thinking of challah, brisket, latkes, chicken soup, matzo ball soup, and noodle kugel. But first and foremost, I am planning a terrific Passover Gift to send to him—Passover Traditions in a Box–one of our kosher college care packages, along with a Decadent Dark Chocolate Covered Matzo Platter.
What are you sending your Sambassador? Email me and I’ll give you some recommendations.
Happy Jewish Mothering—whether you are a Mom or a Dad!