Jersey Girl Makes Good

By: Jillian Lauren

We took Tariku to my parents’ house in Jersey last week because my brother David was in town from Israel with his six-year-old son. David is Hasidic, so the two boys live in different galaxies, but it didn’t seem to matter. They were so sweet together, batting around a beach ball and screaming in the pool. Don’t they look like they’re planning to take over the world in this picture? I’m skeptical sometimes that T will be able to maintain any kind of relationship with his cousin, but that’s an assumption formed from my own anger at religious extremism. Children have a way of discarding all of those obstacles in the name of a good splashing match.

T also had a reunion with Eliyashu, one of his old friends from the care center in Ethiopia. Eliyashu’s mommy Nehama, a rabbinical student and an extremely rad lady, performed a little Hebrew naming ceremony in our backyard. T’s Hebrew name is Sippur Ya’akov, after my grandmother and grandfather. Sippur means “story” in Hebrew, as Tariku means “history” or “my story” in Amharic. Indeed, he has a big story already for such a little guy. Check out his awesome kippah, handmade by grandma.

T was his ever-awake self on the airplane and slept a total of an hour on both flights combined, but he has a Gypsy soul (Gypsy soul, Ethiopian blood, Pagan parents, Hebrew name) and loves to be on the move, so at least he was cheery. His eyes were saucers as we lifted off the ground. He kept looking at me like: are you seeing this!? He says “airplane” at least sixty-three times a day now.

Jillian Lauren

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