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Rich Siegel

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My Jewish Daughter's First Communion

Posted: 09/19/11 03:10 PM ET

Well, it didn't take long at all.

As I mentioned earlier in the year, my daughters are attending Catholic High School. And as I suspected, the experience has already started to bear fruit in the way of funny stories.

Last week was the girl's first mandatory mass. They had to wear their Catholic high school skirts, their Catholic high school socks and their Catholic high school shoes. Additionally, they had to wear a collared white shirt with the Catholic high school tie. I have a hard enough time putting a tie on myself (one of the factors that steered my career choice), so you can imagine how difficult it was to throw a proper Windsor knot on my two girls.

Later that day, when I got home from work, my youngest daughter -- the non-Semitic looking one with the blue eyes and blondish hair -- had a confession to make. She was standing with her new-found friends, in their freshest and crispest attire, at the front of the church when the priest started handing out wafers. She called them cookies. Feeling unsure, even more unsure than any normal 14-year-old girl would, she found herself looking down the barrel of a sacramental shotgun.

And in a moment of great uncertainty, accepted the body of Christ, and ate the cookie.

Naturally, the retelling of the story brought my daughter to tears. There aren't many experiences that don't bring her to tears. Of course, the apple didn't fall from the tree and moments later she was making light of the situation. Telling us how she felt reborn. And how she was craving a roast beef sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise. (OK, that's a bit cliche, but come on, she's only 14.)

If you read my original piece, you'd see I got a lot of angry comments from old Jews who thought I had somehow betrayed my tribe. They would no doubt have a kanipshin over what I'm now calling "The Eucharist Incident." Those are the same old farts who get their panties in a bunch when politicians or corporations say something innocuous like "Merry Christmas."

I would tell those altercockers to pound sand.

I'm actually proud that my daughter didn't want to appear disrespectful and naively took part in a Christian ritual. Big deal. How many times at a Jewish wedding or a funeral or a bat mitzvah, do we ask our gentile friends to don a yarmulke? Or rise with the congregation at the opening of the ark? How is that not the same thing?

The point is, maybe we should all become more familiar with our neighbor's religious rituals.

Two nights ago my wife and I were at the church for Back-to-School Night. As we sat in one of the back pews and listened to the monsignor drone on about this year's fundraising, I couldn't help but admire the beautiful stained glass and the distinctive looming arches of Moorish architecture.

I also noticed there were quite a number of Jews in the church.

They were all on crosses.