By ROGER MADON
As a young boy in New York City I remember listening to radio station WWVA out of Wheeling, West Virginia and literally grew up on country music. Little did I know then that I would meet the people who lived that music.
Years later I lived in Charleston, West Virginia selling disability insurance to coal miners.
Driving down dirt roads, deep into the “hollers” I remember one day selling insurance at the home of a dirt poor coal miner. As I sat across the coffee table and started my pitch the miner stopped me cold, looked into my eyes, straight, and asked, “Are you Jewish?”
“Yes”, I said.
His eyes brightened and he called to his wife, “Honey, I’ve got a Jew here. Come on in and meet him!” As she sat down he said to me, “We’ve never met a Jew before. You are the people of the Book. Tell us a story in the Bible as you know it, as you learned it as it was told to you.”
I told the story of Abraham and Isaac and how confused Jews were about the story of God’s demand that Abraham sacrifice Isaac, his son, his only son. I told him that this story is confounding for Jews and that it is told on every New Year holiday and that it is debated and discussed by the congregation and each year we all walk out of the synagogue as confounded and confused as we were the year before, wondering how a loving God can cause such abiding grief.
Today when my liberal friends on the Upper West Side and other climes complain about the evangelicals and the Christian Right I ask whether they ever met one. Invariably they say no.
But I have met them, many of them. And as an American, a New Yorker and a Jew, I feel downright comfortable that I share this great country with them.
Talk to Roger Madon Monday-Thursday 5 PM New York time on the Paltalk News Network.