Yesterday in the Operating Room lounge in between surgical cases, my hospital's various physicians joined with the rest of our world, celebrating the latest royal birth, wishing both Kate and William well upon the arrival of their son.
I have to admit that as a practicing anesthesiologist I was primarily focused on finding out whether or not Kate got an epidural.
However, one aspect of the conversation came as a surprise to me, because I soon learned that -- according to my Jewish colleagues in the room -- Kate Middleton was Jewish. Apparently there has been a massive worldwide conspiracy to prevent the rest of us from finding out, because of the rampant but little talked about ant-Semitism that our world still suffers from. That meant that Britain would one day have a Jewish King.
My initial comment was that meant his chosen name should obviously be David!
I wondered though, because I've watched a number of documentaries about Kate and William over the last few years (I have to admit, I'm secretly a bit of a "Royalist" at heart, while still being very proud of my distant descent through Bonnie Prince Charlie) and that fact had never come up. So later on that day I did an online search, whereupon I learned that Kate's Jewishness is quite questionable.
But I also learned something that truly astounded me: the only other group as adamant as my Jewish colleagues that Britain's one day King will be Jewish -- and that there is a world-wide conspiracy to prevent the rest of us from knowing that -- is the government of Iran, and their various allied and associated jihadists.
I honestly wish we all lived in a better world, where we could all simply join together in happiness for the sake of Kate and William, and by extension through them to all other happy mothers and fathers as well upon the blessed event of the birth of a new child. As a four-time parent I well remember that life-changing experience, and I know I speak for many when I wish them, their parents, grand-parents and all their friends and families all the best: their worlds will never be the same, for the best of reasons.
But however much I wish we all lived there I actually understand at least a little bit how much world politics and world history intrudes upon our shared narratives. And I think it speaks volumes that upon this issue both Jews and jihadists agree, albeit for absolutely opposite and mutually exclusive reasons.
From the Jewish side, given the horrid history of both open and silent anti-Semitism that has plagued Europe for the last few centuries, culminating in but not ending with the Holocaust, I can say I think I see where they are coming from. Personally, I have long suspected I have a secret Jewish grandmother, and perhaps even a secret Jewish grandfather as well; given my own family's somewhat fractured history, our rather strange name (Liepert is derived from the German phrase "Good-Soul"), and my Grandmother's facility with both Yiddish and making the world's "schmeckiest" Matzo-ball soup -- dark Matzo's, made with re-baked bread, salt, pepper and egg-yolks, perhaps I'll share the recipe someday in some later blog -- and given Eastern Europe's horrid and horribly recent history of forcing Jews to convert to Christianity for the sake of their lives as recently as a hundred years ago.
In all honesty, that history is one of the reasons I became Muslim.
And from the jihadist side, while I remain more-than-frustrated-and-embarrassed by some of that awful group's continued attempts to deny the Holocaust and to deny the Muslim world's own historic role in the anti-Semitic abuse of God's Chosen People -- chosen explicitly to one day demonstrate God's Benevolent Justice in Israel (yes, I know many Muslims and Muslim institutions have acted to defend and protect Jews throughout our own proud history, but I also know that other Muslims and other Muslim institutions have historically -- and it seems more often -- done the opposite) I also understand the ongoing soft-narrative within my Muslim community, questioning why that history so often seems to justify to some the oppression and the abuse of the rights and freedoms of others today by Israel, within the Occupied Territories in God's Holy Land.
Because in all honesty, that history is one of the reasons I'm Muslim too.
So for what it's worth, here's what I think.
For the sake of this newest arrival to the Royal Family of England, and for the sake of all our children and this world we share together, do you think we could just cut to the chase, accept our histories and current realities, learn from our mistakes, and start talking more openly about the things that unite and divide us?
Because I think one thing is clear: for the sake of a better future, we need to talk more and do less now, in order to work towards making a world where we can one day do more together.
And until that world comes, I'd like to wish Kate and William and their wonderful baby son God's Blessings and all the best that God and this world has has given us can give them.
And perhaps you'll consider naming him David?