Hot Dogs

“Hot Dogs for Peace”

“The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.” Ephesians 2:14, 15

It has been difficult not to get caught up in the news this past week. The events in Syria have been disturbing, very complicated issues there, with no quick solutions. Even though the events in Syria concerned a civil war, the problems in the Middle East and those that divide us at home affect us all. This week I read the following article by Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core. I loved this perspective from two young boys and wanted to share. I’m not making light of a horrible situation but, thru the eyes of a child we can often learn something.

“When I was growing up in the western suburbs of Chicago, I felt so far outside of the inner circle of cool kids that I didn’t even know where the circle was. So you can imagine my delight when I got an invitation to David’s birthday party. David was in the outer part of the inner circle, which meant I was heading in the right direction. A couple of days before the party, my mom took a closer look at the invitation and noticed that it said David’s parents would be making hot dogs for lunch. As she wasn’t sure whether the hot dogs were pork or beef, and as we were Muslims who don’t eat pork, she informed me that she’d be giving me all-beef franks to take with a note to David’s mom asking her to fry them up in a separate pan. Of course, this horrified me, the kind of horror only a kid caught up in the jungle of grade school coolness competition can feel. I remember standing in the living room, staring at my mom, and thinking to myself: “First, you named me Eboo.” The day of the party rolled around and, dutiful Indian-Muslim child that I was, I accepted the little plastic baggie with two beef hot dogs that my mom handed me, allowed her to put me into nice slacks and a collared shirt and went off to the party. When lunchtime came, I snuck into the kitchen to make my request of David’s parents. Imagine my surprise when I noticed another kid in the kitchen. He wore a collared shirt and nice slacks and also held a baggie with two hot dogs. “Who are you?” I asked. “My name is Chaim,” he said. “My mom sent me with my own hot dogs.” I was like, “you and me, we are going to be friends.” Chaim was the first Jew I had ever met.”

~Excerpts from “Hot Dogs for Peace” by Eboo Patel

Eboo is convinced of the hopeful possibilities from this simple story. He asks the questions “What is it about that encounter that made Chaim and me friends?” “How do we carve out spaces where people from different backgrounds feel that they have something deep and profound in common, that they have a stake in each other’s success?” He talks about positive, respectful relationships between people of different backgrounds. He says, “I’m convinced it has everything to do with the nature of the spaces in which people encounter one another, and whether those spaces bring out people’s divisions or their commonalities.” 

Father, help us see with your eyes. Amen

Lois Autterson

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