Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat
by Greta Beigel
From the Author
At a cat writers' conference a few years back a publisher remarked: "Why on earth would you write a book about a Jewish cat?" Yet of all my stories, "Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat," narrated by a devout calico called Ketzel, tugs most at my heart. I love having Ketzel purr away in the kitchen as we prepare for Passover, then sit alongside at the Seder table, watching power plays amongst our Orthodox relatives. So good to have her accompany me on a visit to Iceland and express surprise at the lack of Jewry in this land of lava and mist. I'm often asked how "Mewsings" came about. Well, floating one fall afternoon in calm waters at a North Shore beach on Oahu, Hawaii, and feeling somewhat trepidatious what with the fast-approaching Day of Atonement, I heard myself engaging in make-believe catty conversation: "Oh my," a plump ginger tabby cries, "Oh my, I'm so worried. It's nearly Yom Kippur and what happens if my Mama forgets to feed me?" A kindly Siamese neighbor, generally prone to preaching faith, generosity and love responds: "Don't worry kitty. You can share my dish of fish. I'm not Jewish. I can eat all I want." Talk soon centers on Hanukkah happenings, and love of latkes and spinning tops. Most fun for me was dabbling with those "Dubious Brethren in the Animal Kingdom," a series of meditations on assorted frogs, birds, one fat New Zealand hedgehog and a silly lorikeet I encountered during my many travels. In conclusion, Ketzela has created a glosssary of Yiddish terms, just in case you, dear Reader, need any explanation of the text. Meeow.
- Greta Beigel, January 2011
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