We link, you decide..."Everything I Know About my Family on My Mother's Side. The author of The Ministry of Special Cases and For the Relief of Unbearable Urges writes his own version of a family tree."
Now that I'm completely secular, my little niece looks at me -- at her uncle -- through those old eyes. She asks my older brother sweetly, "Is Uncle Nathan Jewish?" Yes, is the answer. Uncle Nathan is Jewish. He's what we call an apostate. He means you no harm.
My great-grandfather gave up on religion completely. And my grandfather told me why he did. This is true, by the by. Not true in the way fiction is truer than truth. True in both realms.
What he told me is that his father and two other boys were up on the roof of a house in their village in Russia. One of the boys -- not my great-grandfather -- had to pee and peed off that roof. What he didn't see below him was a rabbi going by....