Saturday, March 24, 2012

I mean no disrepect.

Have your tea?  Coffee? Got a minute or two? 
First of all this is a picture of a doorway in Greece. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post other than the fact that it occurred to me that when you embark on genealogy you discover some things that are interesting and maybe not so interesting. It's like going through a door. There, that's it. That's the only connection. A cool door picture and my wandering mind.
Not all posts make sense I hope not to meander to far from my topic.  We'll see.

I got a new stove.
I love my new stove. Standing in front of it I feel like I'm standing in front of the GIANT piece of furniture that Zeus built to house his stereo, back in 1968. Chest high, dials, lights and just a commanding presence. I would share a picture but I would have to find it first and then crop out myself, sitting next to it in my underwear. What on earth was I thinking? STUPID STUPID STUPID but then a lot of 19 year olds are stupid.  Look what get shown on YouTube these days.

Ok, back to my new stove.
It's white with big heavy duty black burner grates. It can do five pots at one time.  Impressive.
It's not a big name but it's respectable.
It's also Jewish.

Now, I'm allowed to talk about this because in researching my mother's side of the family and trust me when I say that my mother has always had a "Jewish mother" quality about her, I discovered that some of us were Jewish. 

Apparently back in the early 1700s, a relative, husband of my great grand aunt, a Judah Monis was the first college instructor, in North America to teach the Hebrew language at Harvard College.  He taught from 1722 to 1760 and was the author of the first Hebrew textbook published in North America.
He was also the first Jew to receive a college degree in the American colonies.
There was just one itty bitty little problem. Well, not so itty bitty really.

Harvard assumed that all scholars should be able to study the Bible in its original languages.  All upper class men were required to study Hebrew. Since there wasn't a textbook it was a hard course.
On April 30, 1722, Harvard corporation voted that Mr. Judah Monis was approved as an instructor of the Hebrew Language. Great. He gets 50 pounds a year salary for two years and oh by the way all faculty have to be professing Christians so in front of the entire college we ask you to convert.
This didn't go over well with the Jewish or the Christian communities, one questioning his sincerity and the other expressing anger and sorrow.

He came from a family of former Portuguese conversos, which apparently were descendants of Jews or Muslims who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal in and around the 15th century. Under extreme pressure from the government.

So, my mother, who managed to take my rather staid step-father off to Europe, to live in the early 70s, lived in Portugal.  She taught herself Portuguese.  She looked Portuguese or so she was told.
She loved and still loves Portugal. Who knew it was in her genes?  Can a place be part of our genetic memory or cellular memory. She would go back in a minute if she had her health.

So, when I tell her about Judah, she's delighted.  Not because of the difficult decision he had to make about his religion vs teaching something he thought was terribly important for the future leaders of the new America but because he came from Portugal. My mother has simple delights.

Now, bring yourself back to my kitchen and my new stove, please.
There I stand, reading the instruction manual, 35 pages which are in English and 35 which are in Spanish and I discover that my oven has setting controls for Sabbath. It's called the Sabbath Feature and mind you this is separate from the Setting Delay Start page.  Who knew?

 I have a Jewish stove.

It seems like the back 35 pages should probably be in Yiddish instead of Spanish, you think?

I think my stove and I will do just fine.  I come from a mix of Baptist, Quaker and Church of England.
We can work this relationship out. I'm flexible. I just need to remember if I use this feature that the oven cannot be turned back on until after the Sabbath/Holidays.

:)Bea  Who needs to discuss making Irish Soda Bread, Bauernbrot, Hot Cross Buns and Challah with her new stove.


  1. Mazel Tov on your 'new' stove! I love your blog and especially this entry about your family's Jewish roots. I"m going to google Judah Monis just for fun.
    Ilene in Baltimore

  2. What a delightful post! Well, your stove is a wonder...good luck reading all those directions and figuring it all out! My husband was brought up Quaker, and they used to be pretty strict about observing Sundays, so your time delay can work for that too. I think the whole thing really means mom had to do twice as much work the day before so she didn't work on 'Sabbath' or Sunday! Enjoy!

  3. I never knew there was a Jewish stove :0)!!!! Peace, Mary Helen