21 February 2010

"Jews Don't Bow Down"

If you’d met me growing up in El Paso, Texas you wouldn’t have been able to tell I was Jewish. When I was six and my brother was 10, his gymnastics coach asked my parents if they would consider sending my brother to begin training to be an Olympic gymnast. My parents were in the middle of a divorce, and my brother’s future as an Olympic gymnast got buried under the mess of my parents’ lives. But I, unaware of this greater drama, did what all little brothers did. I followed my brother and joined gymnastics as well.

One day at gymnastics class, the instructor asked me to bow down for a gymnastics routine. I refused. “Aaron is something wrong?”

I wouldn’t budge.

“Please bow down like all the other boys and girls.”

Again I remained adamant in silence. The gym coach had hit upon the only thing I knew from reform temple that as a Jew I was not allowed to do.

Struggling inside I finally spoke up, “Jews don’t bow down!”


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