All these years, and there are many, I’ve shared my birthday with Jeshu’a ben Yoseph, or as he is known to Christians, Jesus Christ. I never minded much. As a Jewish family we didn’t make too much of a fuss at Christmas, although we did have a tree … which my mother later denied even though I could remember which closet the decorations were kept in. And we did get presents from Santa Claus, and watched the Macy’s Day parade, and as a child I was taken to B. Altman’s department store in Manhattan to sit on Santa’s lap. But all that never seemed to interfere with my birthday; it just gave it a little something extra, or so I felt. But these last few birthdays I have experienced twinges of resentment, and and more when I read how it’s common knowledge that Jeshu’a ben Yoseph was more likely born in some other month!
Everything is closed on Christmas and there’s an unaccustomed hush over the city that has nothing to do with snow. I would prefer to feel the specialness of my birthday against a background of an ordinary New York City day. I will hasten to add, though, that there’s been a very nice tradition carried out in the last few years: my step-sister invites me, plus my cousin and his wife, to her lovely home in Connecticut. Some years we are also joined by my step-nephew and when they’re not busy, another nephew and his partner, where we celebrate my birthday, period! We put on a mutually agreed upon movie and have a lovely late lunch … and it’s generally a really nice day. But this year my cousin was suddenly taken ill, and we have postponed the festivities. I miss them!
Anyway, here in my apartment, I am declaring my independence from that other celebratory event. It did not take place on December 25th. I did, at something like 5AM on a freezing morning in NY Hospital, where I was promptly put in an incubator because my mother had a cold. My father, a perspicacious man, came and told my mother with a grin that I had the devil in me. He was not referring to “that” devil. He simply meant that I would cause some very interesting kinds of trouble.
You can see from this blog that he was absolutely right!