Fraser could hear the arguing echoing in the halls again. It was Christmas and Hanukkah so once again the neighbors were arguing over who had the right to decorate the halls for a holiday not everyone celebrated.
Usually it was Mrs Vaun and Mr. Gross arguing over the lights in the hall. Soon the entire building would be choosing up sides on the decorations and who had the right to celebrate their holiday unhindered by the neighbors, but this time the shouting got louder and louder as though someone were coming toward his room.
Shaking his head, Fraser went to the door and opened it up just as Ray V was going to knock.
"Whoa," Ray V jumped back to avoid hitting Fraser with his fist as he started to knock. "Watch what you're doing Benny." Barging into the room, Ray K, Frannie, Mrs Vecchio, the Reverend Michael and Rabbi Yosef followed him inside.
"Would you care to sit down?" Fraser blushed softly knowing he did not have enough chairs for everyone to sit on.
Most mumbled a no thank you but the Reverend and Rabbi both sat at the table while Frannie sat on his bed. Not wanting anyone to get any ideas, Ma Vecchio sat next to her daughter and softly scolded her under her breath.
Not knowing why they were here, and wanting to be a good host, Fraser spoke in a calm tone. "Can I offer you some tea or other . . ."
"NO!" Ray K snapped angrily as he charged over and poked Fraser in his chest. "You spend Saturday at synagogue then go to a Christian church on Sunday!!"
"Well," Fraser seemed unsure as to what was going on and spoke in a timid tone, "of course I do."
"WHY?!!!" Ray K began pacing and waving his arms about as he ranted. "You can NOT be faithful to two religions. You can NOT have two faiths. It's like having two girls; you can get away with it for awhile but then," pausing, he thought about whom he was speaking of, his eyes glanced over Fraser's frame and he sighed in frustration. "O.K. bad comparison but you can't tell me you believe both of those stuff, it's not possible."
"Anything is possible Ray," Fraser had accidently left the door ajar and was not aware that his neighbors were hanging on his every word, "all you have to do is believe."
"Bentino," Ma piped up softly, "you are a good Catholic boy, yes?" Her eyes begged him to just say yes and leave it at that.
"He goes to a synagogue." Ray K snapped angrily.
"That doesn't mean anything," Frannie hissed back as she pointed toward Fraser, "he could just be going to make someone happy. You know how Fraser is."
"I would never go into any religious temple, church or synagogue simply to make someone happy," Fraser stated as firm as he dared.
"But what do you believe, my son?" Reverend Michaels asked softly. "I see you in St Michaels at least three times a week."
"And you are at synagogue the same." Rabbi Yosef nodded as he glanced toward the reverend. "All we want to know is what is in your heart."
Glancing down, Fraser stirred his tea and thought for a long moment. "My grandparents were Christian." Leaning against the counter, he could see his neighbors from the building gathering in the hall to listen more closely to him.
"They taught me the basic Christian lifestyle. However, my Mother was Jewish. She never gave up her religion and my father never asked her to. While she was alive she took me to synagogue and I learned from the rabbi who came to visit with us."
"What's that got to do with anything?" Ray V snapped bitterly. "We want to know what you believe in now, not what it was like back then."
"I'm coming to that Ray." Fraser cleared his throat and hoped everyone could hear him, "During my . . . " waving a hand in small circles, he chose his words carefully, ". . . religious training I came to understand that the two religions are really one and that one cannot exist without the other . . . Well maybe not both but one is the foundation of the other so it seems to me that they are both one and the same."
"I don't get it." Frannie gazed toward Fraser curiously. "Nothing is the same about Jews and Christians, we don't even read the same bibles."
"In a way you do." Fraser glanced out into the hall and noticed the crowd had grown. "The Jewish faith is the basis for all Christian beliefs, Judaism is the foundation of all Christian beliefs. Read the Old Testament - that is the Jewish bible, of course. It is still read in the ancient Hebrew as prescribed by the law." Tilting his head to the side in a shrugging gesture, he sipped his tea.
"They can't be the same," Ray K piped up anxiously, "There is no way, there are way too many differences, not only in the way the books are read but the whole mumbo jumbo, it's just too different."
"They are the same," Fraser spoke with such conviction that no one dared oppose him, "the only thing that is different is that one sect believes that the Lord has not yet come and the other believes not only that He has come but that He died for all of our sins. Both religions want peace on earth."
The rabbi and reverend both nodded and felt rather small for allowing themselves to become part of this religious battle.
Fraser could see that no one knew what to say or what to do. At that point almost everyone would have given everything they had for a good solid earthquake to break up the party.
"I'm sure you all have something else you would wish to be doing, Christmas and Hanukkah shopping, decorating various rooms, preparing for several parties, not to mention the religious applications."
Everyone except Frannie slowly got up and started to leave as they said their thanks to Fraser for straightening out 'the situation'.
Fraser slowly closed the door and sighed in relief. As he stepped back, he caught sight of Frannie still sitting on his bed, smiling at him.
Leaning back slightly, Frannie spread her hands over his mattress and gave him a wicked grin. "Want your Christmas gift now?"
Before Fraser could say anything, thumping could be heard in the hall, the door flew open and Ray V charged inside. Grabbing Frannie by the hand, he literally dragged her from the room. "What is wrong with you?" Stopping for a second, he shot back toward Fraser, "Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah," before leaving with Frannie in tow,
"What is the Rabbi going to think of you? Sitting on his bed, waiting for everyone to leave? How you don't have the worst reputation . . . " His words faded as they stormed off down the steps and out into the street.
Fraser smiled to himself. He could hear the neighbors agreeing to let each celebrate whatever holiday they wanted in their own way. Getting out a small Christmas tree, he sat it on the table and smiled as he opened the trunk next to his bed and pulled out a menorah. :ooking at the bottom, he saw his Mother's name engraved on it. A tear trickled down his cheek as he sat the menorah next to his small Christmas tree and thought to himself, "Just as it should be".
Return to For The Moo