“To repeat, after you have been knighted by Her Majesty the Queen, you will proceed in this direction to receive your certificate,” said the woman, speaking in courtly, faux British accent.
She was wearing an elaborate costume — including a heavy, full brocade skirt — despite the sweltering temperature. Yet she was clearly enjoying herself as she prepared participants for a “children’s knighting ceremony” at the local Renaissance Faire.
I had taken my kids, ages 4 and 6, to the Renaissance Faire — an outdoor festival that’s in a semi-historical, if anachronistic, setting that is roughly supposed to resemble Elizabethan England. Included in the ticket price are entertainment options for all ages — including bawdy tavern songs, blacksmith demonstrations, jousting tournaments and the opportunity to rest on pleasantly shaded benches while the queen of the festival conferred titles on babies, toddlers and young children.
My kids seemed semi-interested in being knighted, which meant this activity was winning out over all the other entertainment options we had tried so far. Participating in an interactive dramatic story about a friendly dragon was deemed “boring;” marching with the local militia had not been (perhaps thankfully) a draw; even the bright red shaved ice they had begged for after lunch had turned out to be a disappointment.
Needless to say, our day was not going how I’d imagined it would. I love Ren Faires — I even worked at one during high school, hawking hand-dyed tunics and skirts that the whimsical shop owner had sewed through the winter and sold all summer. I have fond memories of going to my first faire, when I was 7. I wore a conical hat with hot pink veils that draped from the top, and I loved the way everyone called me “m’lady.”
My children, however, were unimpressed by the costumes, the live shows and the silly antics. I was starting to hear the dreaded question, “When can we go home?” This chance to be knighted by the queen was one of my last hopes for giving them a good impression of the day.
So, we joined the queue and waited for the queen to arrive. A few minutes later, she came to greet the small lords and ladies lined up to receive her favor — sorry, favour.
The herald called out the name of the first child. The queen then held the sword above the kid’s head and proceeded to tap each of his shoulders, as she announced to the gathered families: “In the name of God, Saint Gregory and Saint Michael, I dub thee Sir Tanner, defender of the realm.”
Hearing the words of the knighting — the saints, in particular — I realized that I had a problem. Or, at least, a choice to make. I hadn’t expected this ceremony would have a religious element, and I definitely hadn’t thought that my children would receive their titles in the name of saints, devout Christians who had lived their lives according to a faith very different from ours.
As I saw it, I had two options. Option 1: I could sit quietly and let the kids be knighted in the names of Saint Gregory and Saint Michael. They had never heard of saints, and I doubted there was too much blasphemy involved in receiving a fake title from a fake queen who had become royalty simply by rising through the ranks of the local Ren Faire players. Not a big deal, right?
Option 2: Disrupt the ceremony — thereby earning myself the title “Lady Weird Mom” — and take a stand for religious pluralism in make-believe Elizabethan England.
Whatever my personal preference, I had noticed my husband tense as soon as the queen mentioned the saints. And so, like Mordechai from the Purim story — who would bow down only to God — it was time for me to bring my religious identity to the royal court.
I made my way to the lady’s maid, who was helping the children line up in an orderly fashion for their knightings.
“Hi! Um, excuse me, is there any way I can get my kids knighted without mentioning the saints?” I asked.
The maid, a woman in her 20s or 30s who clearly had experience corralling children on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, looked confused.
“Without mentioning the saints?” she asked. This was obviously not a question she heard often.
I nodded. “Right, without the saints,” I said.
“We’re Jewish,” I added, hopefully communicating that though my request may seem a bit absurd, at least it was absurdity with precedent.
“I suppose we could do that,” she said. “No one has ever asked before. Perhaps they could be knighted in the name of an angel? Perhaps Azriel?”
I couldn’t remember offhand who Azriel was, and seeing as I’m a Jewish educator, I didn’t think that was a good sign.
“An angel sounds great,” I said. I named the first two angels I could think of — archangels that are said to reside close to the divine throne and who, conveniently, have name recognition in both Jewish and Christian settings.
“How about Gabriel or Michael?” (Later I learned that Azriel was the angel of death. Quite a choice for a 4-year-old’s knighting, so I’m glad I passed!)
“Very well,” the lady said, still in character and speaking with the appropriate British-ish accent. “When you approach the queen, I shall go with you to inform her of the change. The queen is a bit on autopilot when she performs the knightings, so it may take her a moment to understand the request. Are your children both young lords?”
“One boy and one girl.”
“Very well. In whose name would you like the young lady knighted? The queen prefers to use Saint Anne.”
Now it was my turn to be confused — my first thought was that angels are androgynous and should be fine for any young lord or lady. However, when the queen’s handler suggested that my daughter be knighted in the name of Sarah, in addition to an angel, I agreed rather than debate an angel’s gender identity.
“So, Sarah and which angel?”
“Any angel, it doesn’t — Gabriel,” I said. “Let’s go with Gabriel.”
A few minutes later, my 4-year-old daughter, the lady’s maid, and I approached the queen.
The maid quickly explained to the queen that there was a slight change in the ceremony, and that my daughter should be knighted “in the name of Sarah and Gabriel.”
“Saint Sarah?” the queen asked, not unkindly.
“No, just Sarah,” I said. “From the Bible.” And then, back to that urge to make the request sound reasonable, “We’re Jewish.”
“Very well,” the queen said. But then, before starting the ceremony, she asked in appropriate Elizabethan fashion: “Do you know God?”
“Yes,” I said, glad that I understood what her oddly phrased question meant.
The queen held the sword over my daughter’s head and proceeded to tap her shoulders: “In the name of God, Sarah and Gabriel,” she said, “I dub thee Lady Hedy, defender of the realm.”
The queen’s guard indicated where we should go to receive a personalized certificate. I was so relieved that the knighting was over that I didn’t even witness my 6-year-old’s ceremony, presumably performed in the name of God, Michael and Gabriel. But in that moment, I was just another mom at the Ren Faire, repeating the spelling of my child’s name to the court calligrapher.
By ALAN ROSENBAUM
“We are a government agency with a start-up soul,” says Hagai Dror, managing director of HealthCare Israel, one of the three winners of the 2019 InnoDip Award for innovative diplomacy. The award, established by the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the IDC Herzliya, will be presented at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Thursday, November 21 in Jerusalem.
Healthcare Israel was created by Israel’s Ministry of Health in 2016 to deliver life-saving and cost-saving healthcare innovation, technology and expertise to the world, and promotes cooperation and Israeli health system exports through collaborations between government, the health system and the healthcare industry. It has leveraged Israel’s existing diplomatic ecosystem to reach out and create new kinds of international cooperation projects and business deals specifically in the healthcare space.
By YAAKOV KATZ
U.S. Ambassador Friedman to ‘Post’: New policy advances the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace • PM: Policy rights a historical wrong
In a historic reversal of US policy, the Trump administration announced on Monday that it does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. The policy change was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington.
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with president Reagan,” Pompeo said in reference to Ronald Reagan’s position that settlements were not inherently illegal. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
Leftist students verbally abused and ransacked tables belong to conservative students
Binghamton University’s downtown campus in New York.
A New York State assemblyman has slammed Binghamton University for the way it has handled a group of leftist students who verbally abused and ransacked tables belonging to the campus College Republicans group.
The conservative students were handing out flyers for an upcoming talk by well-known economist Dr. Arthur Laffer when the incident occurred on Thursday.
A view of the Yehudit Bridge and the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, Feb. 17, 2019. Photo
CTech – Tel Aviv will officially launch its free weekend transportation service this Friday, the city announced Tuesday. In collaboration with neighboring towns Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, and Kiryat Ono, Tel Aviv will operate six routes covering over 300 kilometers. Minivans will pick up and drop off passengers at over 500 stops across the metropolitan area at a frequency of once every 30 minutes between 6 pm on Friday and 2 am on Saturday, and between 9 am and 5 pm on Saturday.
Tel Aviv has long awaited a solution for transportation during Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. The principle of the “status quo”—a guideline which dictates maintaining the common practice when it comes to the fundamentals of Jewish Orthodoxy, especially Shabbat observance—effectively prevents the state from offering public transportation services on Shabbat, but since Tel Aviv’s service is free, it does not currently fall under the legal definition of public transportation.
A police car in the German capital of
An elderly man has been viciously beaten up in broad daylight on a Berlin street by a youth who showered him with antisemitic abuse.
According to the BZ online news outlet, the 76-year-old pensioner was walking along the Berliner Strasse in the Pankow district of the German capital at 9 a.m. on Monday when his passage was blocked by a 16-year-old youth and four of his friends.
What good is the flourishing of a nation if it is constantly at political, partisan war?
‘WITHOUT PEACE, life becomes unlivable. We’re all unnaturally nervous because there is hardly any downtime.’
When I first arrived to serve as rabbi at Oxford in late 1988, I had no office help. Therefore, in addition to my rabbinical and organizational responsibilities, I had to do all the office work myself. I wrote the checks, copied the fliers, typed the letters and licked the envelopes. In terms of communications, in those days I had to deal only with the telephone and snail mail.
Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria is not “occupation,” at least not according to international law.
The American tourist was staring at me with “deer in the headlights” eyes. She did not comprehend what I had just said to her. I had said that Palestinians are not Israelis.
A minute earlier she had revealed to us – a group of about 15 of her peers, plus me, all gathered in my Efrat living room – the root cause of Palestinian terrorism. It was due, she announced, to Israel “treating Palestinians like second-class citizens and denying them the right to come to Jerusalem.” By this she was inferring that Palestinians are citizens of the State of Israel who are discriminated against and denied numerous right
Mass emigration of Israel’s most tech-savvy individuals starves start-ups of talented hires and puts a ceiling on their growth.
A ROBOT tries to make a heart. Who is behind those online profiles?
The Start-Up Nation is suffering from a brain drain that threatens its growth.
For every Israeli citizen with a university degree who returned from abroad in 2017, a corresponding 4.5 Israelis with degrees left the country that same year, a newly released report by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research found. The trend has been under way for years and shows no signs of slowing down.
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah ride in a vehicle decorated with Hezbollah and Lebanese flags and a picture of him, as part of a convoy in the southern village of Kfar Kila, Lebanon October 25, 2019
Could uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon, coupled with US sanctions, permanently impair Iran’s influence in the region?
In the past few weeks, frustrated and fed-up demonstrators have taken to the streets of Lebanon and Iraq to voice grievances against their governments. The perception of Iranian infiltration and influence certainly continues to impact this political shake-up in both regions.
Hamas is aware of the deep crisis but still sticks to its guns, literally, by insisting on holding and upgrading its arsenal instead of helping its own people
The recent clash in the Gaza Strip was not like earlier ones there because it was only between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Hamas was not really involved. This could be a model for the future in which Israel might strike the PIJ while Hamas again stays out of the fight.