Her Prince Wore A Yarmulke
By Mo Lux of MocadeauxTashlich: The casting of sins into the water on Rosh Hashanah
Once upon a time in a village outside of Chicago, there lived a princess named Annie. Princess Annie grew up in a warm and loving home, went to Mass every Sunday, made her First Communion in 2nd grade and was confirmed in 8th grade. She attended public school at which she met and made friends with a very diverse group of classmates. Princess Annie loved this diversity and loved learning about different cultures and religions.
When the princess was in high school her family moved to Richmond. Virginia. Her school was much less diverse than she was accustomed to. Princess Annie noted that, “there are more cheerleaders than non-Christians.” Still, Annie managed to gather an interesting and differently diverse group of pals.
When it was time to go to college, the princess chose a school in the heart of a major city. She was ready to move on from suburbia and loved the urban life. At the university she dated a few frogs…ok, one in particular. As that relationship was ending, Annie joined an organization in student government through which she met a whole new group of interesting, fabulous people.
Princess Annie loved spending time with all the folks in her new posse but, as time went on, she developed a special friendship with one fellow in particular. They maintained this friendship, not taking it “to the next level” for some time. After all, he was a very observant Jewish boy and she was raised as a Catholic. There would be no future in a romantic relationship between them. Or would there?
Remember that Princess Annie was always interested in learning about and exploring how others lived their lives. Through this exploration, Annie came to develop an affinity for the Jewish faith. She loved the history and the culture and the traditions. It all struck a chord in her heart.
Over the next few years, the princess traveled through a lengthy, thoughtful path to conversion. As you might have guessed, this coincided nicely with the realization between Annie and Jerry that they belonged together – they needed to spend their lives together. Did she convert “for him”? No, the truth of the matter was that she converted for her own happiness.
The next thing you know, Queen Mo was planning a Jewish wedding, complete with a fully kosher dinner reception (with lots and lots and lots of help from the bride and groom and the groom’s mother). The wedding ceremony was a beautiful celebration of the love of these two wonderful people. Princess Annie’s godparents (you know, the folks who stood up at her baptism) read a special blessing at the ceremony. The families and friends from both sides joined in raucous dancing at the reception. Perhaps it was the first time many on the bride’s side had ever danced the Hava Nagila but you would never know it based on their enthusiasm (and surprising skill).
People have asked King Peter and I how we feel about our daughter parting from the religion in which she was raised and which we still practice. Our answer is this: Our princess is a smart, kind, and independent adult. This is her life and she gets to decide how to live it. We are very impressed with the commitment she has made. It is clear that she feels a real connection to the traditions she now follows. Learning more about the Jewish faith has been a fascinating experience for our extended family. On top of all that, we have gained a new member of the family, our son-in-law Jerry whom we adore. If ever there was a guy who truly walks the walk of his faith, this is that guy. He is patient and kind with us as we navigate ways to have our traditions co-exist.
Over the years our extended family has grown into a widely diverse, wacky and gloriously fun bunch. The newest addition, Prince Jerry, makes our family even better. We are lucky and blessed to have him in our lives.
Painting credit: Zalman Kleinman Art Gallery