Friday, September 07, 2007

Pompeii, Jews, and Christians

(Computer-generated image found on

Several years ago our family visited Pompeii, where I found one of the coolest t-shirts I have ever seen. I didn't purchase it, because it was about 110 degrees outside and I didn't want to carry one more thing around all day than I already had in my bag. I figured I'd buy it on the way out. What I didn't know was that there are several entrances to Pompeii, and that we would end up leaving from the one at the bottom of the hill at the end of the day. No way was I trudging all the way back up for a t-shirt.

A few years later, one of the Lovely Daughter's teachers went to Pompeii, and I asked her to bring back a t-shirt for me. She forgot.

Last year, one of my ninth grade students in the Orthdox Jewish school in which I taught for the past six years mentioned that she had been to Pompeii over the summer. "And where is my t-shirt?" I demanded. She looked utterly confused. "I taught you in eighth grade, too, and I can't believe you didn't consult me before you headed off for Pompeii!"

"I'll get you a t-shirt, Ms. Gannet!" cried one of the other girls. "I'm going to Pompeii next summer!"

I stopped by my former stomping grounds today.

I got lots and lots of hugs and many updates.

I got to have a lengthy discussion with one of the rabbis about a question I had asked last year: whether his artist wife could create a piece of work for me, a Protestant, as a gift for a Catholic priest, if such work incorporated words from Christian scripture. He had e-mailed a rabbi in New York, who had finally responded (in English) and attached several other comments (in Hebrew). We were right back where we were a few months ago, discussing the arguments made by some Jews that Christianity is a an idolatrous religion, similar arguments made by Muslims with respect to both Christianity and Judaism, and whether "worship" and "advancement of a belief" are the same thing or not (it depends, of course).

I learned that there is a problem at the moment between Israel and Syria.

I got to hear about a colleague's studies in Israel over the summer.

And I got a Pompeii t-shirt from a fifteen-year-old girl who thought of me when she was far across the ocean.

"Yes," she said, "my mom thought I was crazy."


Jan said...

Cool! How about taking a picture of the shirt?

Kathryn said...

Yes - what does it say/show to be worthy of such a sustained campaign?
Your public wants to know!

mompriest said...

very special t-shirt, now!

Gannet Girl said...

It says...

(drum roll):


Lisa :-] said...

Nice to be remembered, isn't it?

Diane said...

yeah, take a picture of the t-shirt, please.
not crazy. wonderful.

Cynthia said...

Well, it sounds like your time finally came around.

Carol said...

GG, is it the t-shirt that you wanted from a few years ago? I'm so glad that you had such a nice visit with your former colleagues and students. And I'm sorry that some who practice my faith feel as though they can't create art for/about other religions. It's a belief that I'll never understand. I'm thinking that you're far more prepared to explain it to me than my fellow Jews who believe this way.

Gannet Girl said...

No -- I'm sure that t-shirt is long gone. This one is not so unusual -- except that it's much better, because of how it got to me!

Grace thing said...

I love this story about the t-shirt finding you. :)

LawAndGospel said...

Glad you had a nice reunion and got your T-shirt. Hope your studies are going well.

Suma said...

thats really cool and perfect t-shirt for all seasons..

suma valluru