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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks


Many years ago Paul came home one day and told me he had signed our family up for a membership at the JCC. I asked what that was, and he explained it was the Jewish Community Center.

I was horrified. I just knew if they found out we weren’t Jewish they would get angry and kick us out. Paul explained that you don’t have to be Jewish. In fact, their membership was about a 60 /40 split. It is an amazing facility, and because of that we have joined every summer for their pools since Madi was little.

We have had many good times there, made friends, and learned a lot about the Jewish culture. One of the first things we learned was when someone asked us about MOT. After much confusion, the person explained it means “Member of the Tribe.” In other words, are you Jewish?

I love that terminology. Tribe. If we’re lucky we have a tribe. A clan is a family, but a tribe is something different. A tribe is a group of people that have been hand-picked.

On December 1, 2015, my Aunt Peggy texted family and friends to let them know she had received a sobering diagnosis. I have a warped way of dealing with bad news, so I fired off a text accusing her of going to ridiculous extremes to hear from her favorite niece more often. She responded simply with the statement that I was her ONLY niece.

Because I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine, I began texting her a funny meme each morning. We shared a lot of short conversations and funny quips over the next couple of years. She told me many times how much she looked forward to them. She would have said that no matter what though!!

Over the years since then when friends were going through a rough time I added them to the list of people I send memes to each day. We have become a ragtag tribe of sorts.

Most days I hear back from my friends. Sometimes it’s a comment about the meme or what is going on in their lives or asking what is going on in mine. Sometimes it’s just a return “Love you,” but it makes my day. I am certain I get a lot more out of it than they do.

Well, tomorrow morning I put my baby on a plane for the first leg of her journey to living abroad for a semester. I’m ok with the length of time. After all, it’s the same as a regular semester. Ah, but the distance. I’ve never had my heart that far away from the rest of me. Strangely enough this day has approached with the speed of a glacier - just prolonging the torture.

As it has finally arrived I may have unraveled a little, but the funny thing is that my tribe has turned the tables. They are comforting me, praying for and encouraging me, even sending memes of their own.

I am so lucky to be a member of this tribe! THANK YOU!! I love you all!!

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Jennifer Lance
Jennifer Lance
Sep 01, 2022

I am the lucky one to be included in your tribe! Love you!

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