Tuesday, 18 February 2014

This is My Story each chapter is a shortened symptoms of the full story which I will tell If it ever makes into book form. Enjoy Maurice

Chapter 1. Being a Jew versus being a Catholic. A light hearted point of view.

Chapter 2. Drummer Boy.

Chapter 3: Wine, Women and Song

Chapter 4. It all kicks of at Club Elizabeth.

Chapter 5: Nice Maurice and all that jazz......

Chapter 6: It’s all over now.....Or is it?

Chapter 7: The Next big thing and death in my family.....

Chapter 8: What the hell is Innocent Misrepresentation?

Chapter 9: A new life, new home, criminals and drugs.

Chapter 10: Back in Dublin’s High Court AGAIN!

Chapter 11: First stop Cuba and then Mandy Smith .(part 1 and part 2)

Chapter 12: It's all over now with Mandy Smith and Dame Shirley Bassey goes wild!


Being a Jew versus being a Catholic. A light hearted point of view.

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, as where my parents and my grandparents, that is except my grandfather on my father’s side, he was born in Riga, Latvia. So I suppose that makes me a true blue blood Irish Jew with a drop on Latvian blood. Being brought up in Ireland during the 50’s I remember that the country was very Catholic dominated. The Catholic Church had a huge influence on everyday life, although as a youngster all I knew is many of my Catholic friends went to church on a Sunday where I was meant to go to synagogue every Saturday, a rule I must add that was not always strictly carried out in my home. Between the age of 0 and 13 religion never meant a lot to me except we Jews seemed to enjoy many different holidays which meant I could miss school.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Passover, it’s fair to say, although my parents were far from strictly observant , they did stick stringently to the rules of the festival . Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year. At this time Jewish people remember how the children of Israel left slavery behind them when they were led out of Egypt by Moses over 3000 years ago. The celebrations last for seven or eight days, depending on where you live.
I remember that every Passover all are dishes, cups, glasses and cutlery were replace by the set used solely for the Passover and all food was brought in that had the stamp ‘strictly for Pesach’ on them. Bread was replaced by matzos (unleavened bread), looks somewhat like a water biscuit.
On the evening before the Passover begins, a special dinner was held called a Seder ('Order') with family and friends in the home. It was a great fun time for us kids but the one big drawback was that the Passover normally fell at the same time as Easter and I was always devastated as my Catholic friends got stuck into their giant Easter eggs, which I didn’t receive as there was no such thing as a ‘strictly for Pesach’ Easter egg and hot cross buns were strictly OUT!!!!

My late father was a doctor and on the weekends I would go with him as he made his house calls. He worked a very large working class practice and I would imagine that 90% of his patience were Catholic, I loved the smell of frying bacon wafting out of some of his patience kitchens , but was never allowed to taste it (strict Jewish dietary law) In fact the first time I tasted bacon I was in my early 20’s!

The Jewish Sabbath came in every Friday and again I adored Friday evenings as we celebrated the Sabbath meal at my darling grandparents. My grandma was the most wonderful human being I had ever known and I adored her. One of the blessings for Jews were to invite visitors to join the family to partake in the Friday evening meal, my over generous adorable grandma almost always invited out of town visitors to join the family meal many of them non Jews, although the visitors were delighted to be invited they must have been rather confused by the Hebrew prays and all the male member wearing skull caps (yarmulkes ).

As a Jewish kid it always seemed so much easier being a Catholic than being Jewish i.e by the age of 13 when traditionally a Jewish Male enters adulthood by the celebration of the Bar Mitzvah. Something I must admit I didn’t look forward to. I had to study a piece from the Torah which I read on my Bar Mitzvah day in Hebrew in front of a packed synagogue followed by a dinner dance at night , in fact in many cases the Bar Mitzvah is as big as a wedding and the Bar Mitzvah boy, me, has to make a speech thanking his parents, grandparents, chief Rabbi etc for all the good things they have done for him, the speech is meant to be heartfelt and at times funny, a bit like the grooms speech at a wedding, then the most embarrassing you had to lead off the dancing by dancing with your mum and worst your sister, I think I refused that one!!! The Catholic communion seemed far less fussy, you get to wear a cool suit say a few prayers and Bobs your uncle your done. You can see the picture unfolding here. It’s a lot easier being a Catholic kid than a Jewish Kid.

One of the biggest drawbacks for Jewish kids and were Catholics definitely have one over on us is CHRISTMAS! Yes, we have Hanukah, which we are told as children is the Jewish equivalent to Christmas, but it’s NOT!! Yes, we get presents. But we don-t enjoy the same atmosphere as Christmas, the songs, the lights, the Christmas Trees, Santa Claus and the traditional Christmas Turkey, Christmas pudding etc etc. Luckily, as I said, my parents were very liberal and ALWAYS put up a Christmas tree and a visiting Santa Claus at our home. I always felt sorry for my Jewish friends whose parents were traditionally orthodox and wouldn’t hear of any form or recognition of Christmas in their homes.

The Jewish mother: It always seemed to me that my Catholic friends had it a lot easier than me, they didn’t have to spend Sunday morning at Hebrew school (Cheder) They were allowed to stay out later and even play in the woods at the end of our street. You see Jewish mums more or less rap their kids in cotton wool and fuss over them a lot more than non Jewish mums, well that’s the way I saw it anyway. A day playing outside with my friends would always end with “But muuuum, Frankie is allowed to stay out until it’s dark why can’t I, It’s soooo unfair!!”

Another Jewish festival is Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. I wasn’t a big fan of this particular festival; as I don’t think most Jews are. Traditionally Jews don’t start taking part in the fasting side until they Bar Mitzvahed (13) but us kids used to pretend we were adults from as early as 10 and started fasting. So what was it all about having no food or water for 25 hours? Repentance , asking the Almighty to forgive you for the since that you made during the year. Now again Catholics had it a whole lot easier, they would pop into confession tell the priest that they had sinned he’d give them a few Hail Mary’s and Bobs your uncle (again) and you were forgiven.

I was brought up in quite a liberal Jewish home my parents had a very mixed lot of friends and It was instilled into me that integration was important. I went to a Protestant boarding school and to be honest in all my years in Ireland I never came across Anti Semitism except as a kid my then best friend Frankie Benet accused me of killing Jesus!!! I ended up crying and swearing I didn’t even know him so how could I have killed him?

I am a practising Jew and belong to the Jewish community of Marbella where we have the first purpose built Synagogue (see photo) since the Spanish Inquisition and delighted to learn that Spain has introduced new laws that would allow the descendants of Jews expelled from the country during the Spanish Inquisition to obtain citizenship. Until now the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain during the 15th century – known as Sephardic Jews – could claim Spanish citizenship only after living in the country for two years, and then only if they renounced their previous nationality. Like Ireland I have NEVER in all the years I’ve lived in Spain come across any real form of Anti Semitisms except possibly from a few uneducated buffoons.

So there you have it is being a Jew Better than being a Catholic. I don’t know I’ve never been a Catholic.

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