In the Garden of Olives

by Mark C. Wallfisch

Rabbi Nate Rosenberg and Rev. Lou Warren had known each other for years through an ecumenical clergy group in Fort Lauderdale.  When Rev. Lou asked Rabbi Nate to meet him for lunch at the mall, Nate agreed.

They met and small-talked over breadsticks, salad, lasagna classico and chicken parmigiana, and, after they had eaten, Lou took a deep breath and reached for Nate’s hand. 

“What’s going on?” Nate thought.

Looking into Nate’s startled eyes, Lou piously intoned, “Nate, isn’t it time for you to come with me to Jesus, and together we can lead your people to the one true Savior?”

Nate’s incredulity of a moment ago diminished in comparison to the astonishment now in Nate’s mind.  It took what felt like hours for him to proceed through resentment and anger to compose himself to respond.

Sitting erect and pushing back from the table, Nate replied intently, “Lou, I love living in this town.  I’ve met so many great people.  The beaches are beautiful, and the history is fascinating.  The tropical weather is so relaxing.  I enjoy splurging on dinners at Morton’s, Lobster Bar Sea Grille, Casa D’Angelo, and other fabulous restaurants.

“But Lou, if I’m reading you right, you’re asking me to turn my back on five thousand, seven hundred, eighty years of Jewish history at — of all places — Olive Garden?”

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