By Luke Ford Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve 1994-1997 1997 1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009
1/11/94 My brother Paul, my girlfriend Paula Lemire, my friend Joanne Boleman and I canoed down Wekiwa river. Conversation centered on me and my obnoxious and rude ways. We all had a good laugh, and arrived back in Orlando just in time for Paula and I to get to Rabbi Adler's American Judaism class.
Conservative Rabbi Alan Londy from Temple Israel spoke for an hour towards the end of class on Jewish Education. As he headed out the door to applause, I ran after him to find out whether he believed in the God of Judaism. While the previous night's guest speaker, left-wing Reform Rabbi Larry Halpern clearly did not, Rabbi Londy was more difficult to pin down. But after a few minutes of questioning, I concluded that Rabbi Londy's theology stood outside of traditional Judaism. His deity was eternal, but impersonal and of limited power.
A few minutes after I left the class, Rabbi Adler asked my girlfriend Paula to pull me away from Rabbi Londy before "he physically hurts him."
Paula met me as I walked back alone to the classroom. After chatting for a minute, I returned to the classroom to see Rabbi Adler. He wanted me to review a book.
(1/13) I write:
If OVERCOMING FEAR BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND JEWS has any influence, it will be on Christians and it will be for the good.
Neither of the two Jewish contributors to this $25 190-page collection of scholarly essays (edited by Dr. James H. Charlesworth and published by Crossroad), write that Jews have anything to learn from Christians. All of the 13 Christian contributors however write that Christians have much to learn from Jews (and vice-versa).
For the past two millenia, Christians feared the Jewish threat to their theological safety. Jesus was a Jew who devoted his entire mission "to the lost sheep of the children of Israel." If any group would recognize the Messiah, it'd be the Jews who'd invented the concept. For millenia Jews lived and died for their unique faith that this world can be made good. Yet Jews have remain the one group most stubbornly resistant to Christianity's universalist claims for Jesus Christ. As a medieval Christian theologian put it, "Each generation that remains Jewish crucifies Jesus anew."
Jews fear the Christian threat to their physical safety. To give one example - Those who made the Holocaust did not come from an Islamic or Buddhist religious background, but, rather, from Christianity.
So what's the moral use of a religion whose 1600-year domination of Europe ends in the murder of six millions Jews?
Christians write in Overcoming Fear that the problem is that Christians don't understand the Christian scriptures, which these scholars want to rewrite anyway to tone down anti-Jewish statements such as John 8:44: "You [Jews] are of your father the Devil." Throw in the newfound Christian belief that Christianity is Jewish (for nearly 1900 years Christian scholars sought to prove the opposite) and a few other fixes, and these non-fundamentalist Christian thinkers hope that their religion can live up to its mission of love.
I hope so too.
"How did you like tonight's speaker?" Rabbi Adler asked me and several other students. We all found him stimulating.
"But he's outside Judaism," I added.
"According to you," said Rabbi Adler, "everyone's outside Judaism except you."
After saying goodnight to my rebbe (mentor), I turned to Paula and her Jewish friend Melanie who also attends Ohev Shalom synagogue.
"She wants to tell you that you're obnoxious and rude," Paula warned me. Melanie blushed and turned away.
"Go on," Paula urged her friend. "Talk to him. He'll listen."
Melanie stepped up to me and stuttered. Stepping back, she stood on the curb and began again. (I reconstruct quotes in this book from a hazy memory.)
"Luke, you're brilliant and fascinating, but you'd have more success if you toned down. People fear approaching you because of your intensity. Several members of the class may try to have you kicked out because you take time away from their relevant questions to go off on your own tangents."
Melanie made good points.
I phoned my ex-girlfriend Deb later in the evening. She agreed to drive my brother and I tomorrow to the oldest continuing European settlement in North America (1564) - St. Augustine.
Paula got upset at me for my frequent dates and phone conversations with Deb over the past few days.
"I've lost respect for you," Paula told me before driving away. "By spending time with Deb you're voting for sickness and death. You know that she's bad for you. You just want her to fall in love with you again so that you can dump her."
Like yesterday, I received heaps of criticism from my travel companions. Here's a sampling:
"If you could call Luke a Jew, he'd be my first Jew..."
"Luke wears his kipa (head covering), tzitzit (fringes), and tefilin (leather straps) for advertising. But there's no substance behind the coverings."
"Most people who encounter him, hate him. The rest tolerate him."
Unlike Tuesday (but similar to Monday), I kept quiet much of the time. The teasing that made me laugh on Lake Wekiwa caught me cold at St. Augustine. Paul got into his American-bashing mode - insisting that the people I've proudly joined are generally morons.
I spent much of the day apart from Paul and Deb. Instead, I chatted with a few strangers who seemed to appreciate me.
On top of Fort Augustine, a dark-skinned man walked towards me, speaking in a foreign language.
"Sorry," I replied, "but my Spanish sucks."
"But I was speaking Hebrew," the man answered. "You should've answered tov toda [well, thank you]."
The middle-aged man turned out to be an orthodox Seventh Day Adventist who knew of my father. We developed a provocative 30-minute conversation.
After eating a pleasant lunch at an Italian restaurant with my brother and ex-girlfriend, the teasing returned. Once again, I separated myself from Paul and Tammy. I wandered into Flagler College where I chatted for almost an hour with, among other people, an attractive blond Math major Ryan (not her real name). She's a twenty-year old Christian who's thinking a second time about the great issues of life.
I returned home early despite entreaties to share Paul's last few hours in Orlando. I pointed out that my brother would be in bed within an hour (7PM has been his bedtime during his stay with me).
"Won't you accompany me [tomorrow morning] to the airport, brother?" asked Paul.
"No," I replied.
I am not ticked at Paul. We spent over three good days together with him paying all expenses! I'm just tired.
As Paul and I said our abrupt goodbye, and hugged, he told me that he worried about me. Like many people, he thinks I am too argumentative, extreme and theoretical.
Paul will stay the night at Debbie's place which is close to the airport. He flies away at eight AM tomorrow.
I went to Talmud class and kept quiet.
Paul phoned me before 7AM this morning to say goodbye.
At noon, I checked in at my doctor's office and found that my blood pressure is fine and my weight is 150 pounds.
At 2PM, I met with a leader of my synagogue who said that several people were frightened by me. I seem strange - wearing tefilin during the day, arguing intensely, doing much Judaism while talking frequently about sex.
Paula's 12-year old daughter Alex writes about me:
*Jewish wanna-be from Australia.
* Man with the deceiving green eyes.
* Take your little hat off when you're speaking Hebrew to me.
* Green-eyed Aussie monster.
* Cheesy poker player.
* A slut.
My highschool buddy Chris McMaster writes from London about my autobiography: "A bit skimpy on the sex and violence.... I noticed that you mentioned Journalism camp but not how you earned the nickname 'Romeo' by not wanting to leave the 25c peep shows."
At my synagogue's Men's Club breakfast, 80-year old Dr Waxman said to me in front of my girlfriend Paula, "Luke, you always sit with the most beautiful women."
In the afternoon Paula and I cried our way through the movie My Life.
Dr Golwyn tells me that to impress him I should begin moving off Social Security Disability and start my career.
My 63-year old friend Leona writes from Sacramento, California:
"I've devoured the first six chapters of your autobiography... Scorched my eyes in a spot or two, but I can still see...Your inteligence is far beyond me! I'm a simple westerner - born on a cattle ranch...I prefer cowboy boots and moccassins...and wide open spaces with timber, mountains and rivers and about anything but city life where I now find myself.
I imagine that you've had everybody and his dog trying to figure you out...So let me throw my two bits in.
I see a sweet little baby boy who loved his momma, dadddy, brother and sister and life. Then all of a sudden something beyond his comprehension messed things up. When he needed consolation and security, he got zero from the neighbors and friends who could not give what only mom or dad could... In his loneliness he began behaving in whatever ways would bring back mom or dad. If the people looking after him couldn't control him then dad would have to take notice.
Then there was the confusion of the funeral and no mommy to hold him close anymore. Others tried, I'm sure. Dad hurt so bad that perhaps he couldn't see beyond his own grief. The little boy's new mommy [Gill] tried to fill in as best she could and that helped, but there was always an empty place dead center in his little heart.
Some kids went here and others there. Daddy had to make major changes to placate his bosses. Life turned upside down from the time the boy could remember things.
A frightened, hurting little boy grew resentful and angry of everyone from God on down...After all, how is he to know God loved him when he hurt so much?
As time went by, habits developed. Also, children quickly see injustice and the SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) church seemed to have a barn full of it.
I see a young fellow who needed dad's attention, and instead dad was kept so busy that he couldn't give the extra that was needed. Also, I see no grandpa around when he was needed.
I see a young man who learned that the best way to be accepted was by hard work...[The young man] grew up trying to find that special love and security that was never fulfilled when his mom died, and noone else can really take her place...The boy struck back against God...Jesus...parents...people and even himself. After all, children tend to blame themselves for a parent's death...
Sitting on top of the coral, I can see in the arena of your young life that you've landed in a few cowpies. That's typical for anyone who's tried to take out his frustrations...by tackling an unpredictable beast with four legs and a pitchfork for horns. Some cowboys can get up and brush the dust off, while others get carted away in the ambulance. Rehabilitation can take awhile.
It looks to me that you've drawn some tough ones and the ride was longer than eight seconds. When the whistle blew, you hung in there and kept riding when you should have let the pick-up men pull you off to safety. Now you're in a position where it will take a little time to make repairs. Gotta leave your boots off, and hang up those sharp rowled spurs, and get that burr out from under the saddle blanket, and take a good rest.
... When I had to put my youngest daughter Pam into Shriner's Hospital, we looked around at the other kids and decided we were pretty well off. Some had no legs...Pam had many painful surgeries from ages ten to twenty one. She never complained. Her little brother Danny never got any surgeries. He was buried instead. But Luke, I will see Danny again! I will see all four of those children killed in our wreck!
... I woke at three one morning and I saw with my eyes shut a beautiful green hillside in heaven. Danny stood in front of a crowd of people [including the three other children killed in the crash]. Then the scene faded away, but I was comforted.
About a week later, I again woke early in the morning to see the same scene. Only this time, behind Dan's left shoulder stands Jesus who explains to Danny that everyone he sees is in heaven, one way or another because of their deaths.
An interesting sidelight.... A friend of Dan's went to Nebraska to study, but not for the ministry because he really wasn't a Christian.... But after the wreck, Mike who hadn't been on his knees for years, reported several days later that he hasn't been off them.
Mike visited me in the hospital and I told him that he should study the gospel [of Jesus Christ] and teach it to children.
Months past. Pam and I got ourselves together to head west for Spokane, WA. As we spent our last Sabbath at the local SDA church, we saw Mike with a crowd of young people around him...I got close enough to hear Mike say: "I'm going to study for the ministry and I'm going to work with children." Luke, many people in that crowd in heaven will be there because of that deadly wreck, and Mike may have a big part in it.
... Go find some kids who need you, Luke. They're out there. The best therapy I know of is to love others."
Retired Judaism teacher Shari Brodsky writes to me:
Your studying Hebrew, Jewish history, etc... does not make you a good Jew. Nor does going to minyan (prayer quorum). It takes doing much more with Shekhina (the divine presence)...You hide behind Judaism. You are not practicing it as you should be. You can't have the best of both world [secular America and Judaism]. We are created in the image of God. We are expected to emulate the attributes of God - to be righteous, kind, loving, merciful, truthful....
Rabbi Adler drove Paula and I to and from the last session of his American Judaism class.
I let loose during the class, telling the rabbi several times that he was completely wrong - about antiSemitism being irrational, that the Nazis used antiSemitism to get elected, etc.....
The rabbi answered me respectfully. I love the way he calls me "Lucas." I run the VCR for him and do other small tasks.
I feel that most people in the class like me, or at least respect me. I gave several people Dennis Prager tapes on Judaism and the first chapter of my book.
During the second week of the class, many people felt threatened by my aggressive questioning of rabbi guest speakers who did not believe in God. They felt that I was taking over the class. But by week three, I could feel people understanding both my points and my fervor. They would challenge Rabbi Adler's tolerance of God-denying rabbis by placing my ideas in their own words.
"How can someone represent himself as a rabbi and deny God?" they would ask.
Students began to say to Rabbi Adler during class, "What would Luke say about this?" They would sometimes direct questions to me and Rabbi Adler gave me abundant floor time in comparison to how much time he gave others to speak.
I drove to Tampa Bay this afternoon with Paula Lemire to hear Dennis Prager lecture twice each at a Conservative and a Reform synagogue over the weekend.
After years of reading and listening to my hero, I set eyes on Prager for the first time at 7:45PM. I introduced myself and the 6'4 240 pound Prager beamed and hugged me. We talked for ten minutes and he appeared thrilled about my turnaround in health. I told Prager (Saturday afternoon) that his pro-medication attitude persuaded me (along with the good advice of Prager's right-wing Orthodox friend Rabbi Yitzhock Adl---tein) to try anti-depressants. After a year of mixed success, I found help from Nardil, recommended by my ex-girlfriend's doctor Daniel Golwyn.
"You owe her your life," Prager told me, referring to Debbie.
"Didn't anyone recommend Nardil to you earlier?" asked Prager.
"Not that I remember," I replied. "But because I come from a Seventh Day Adventist background that discourages the use of mind-altering medication, I resisted for years trying anti-depressants. Also, I never thought that I had a depression problem. I believed that I had a physical problem.
"Nardil's great. It blunts my sex drive so that I'm more in control of myself. Nardil gives me energy and improves my self-confidence. I am returning to how I felt before my illness."
"That's right," said Prager. "There's a great misconception about anti-depressants that they give you self-confidence, etc.... Nardil has simply brought your brain chemistry back to normal."
Prager told me that he received a letter from my worried mother six months ago. People who cannot change me frequently write to people in my life who can change me - such as Jules Zentner and Dennis Prager.
"Your parents must be glad about your recovery in health," said Prager Friday night before his lecture.
"I also heard from your ex-girlfriend," said Prager.
"Which one?" I asked.
We established that it was Lana (not her real name) who grew so discouraged by my failure to take her out that she faxed Prager complaining about me. Prager phoned her back a few minutes after Lana heard from me that I had gone off with Deb.
I appreciate the time that Prager has spent replying to the letters of my friends and family. I'm embarrassed that they take his valuable time. I limit my own correspondence to Prager because I know that he gets hundreds of letters a week, and that he replies to all the serious ones.
I frequently told my Christian friend Joanne Boleman who most encouraged me to see my hero, that I do not feel that I have much to contribute to Prager. Yet Friday night and throughout the weekend, Prager seemed interested in me. He wants to read my book on my conversion to Judaism. I feel however that I have nothing to say that is as significant as what Prager could read in other more important books.
In his Friday night lecture, Prager referred to me. Then during question time, we had a 10-12 minute dialogue.
I addressed my hero through the public microphone. "You want people to take Judaism seriously. I think you would agree that an excellent way to begin is with study of Judaism's sacred texts. I'm a pisher (boy) in Judaism, but I bet that the majority of people who immerse themselves in study of text think that your thought is bizarre."
Prager to the audience: "Did most of you hear the question?"
Audience, Prager and I laugh.
Prager said that I asked an excellent question. He admitted that Orthodox Jews are ambivalent about him.
Prager quoted a prominent Chabad rabbi in Los Angeles who said that Prager had brought more people to Orthodox Judaism than anyone else (aside from the entire Lubavitch movement).
Prager regularly speaks for Chabad, the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish sect. And he does have the encouragement of many Orthodox rabbis.
"But those are rabbis that deal with reality rather than study of sacred text all day," I interjected. Prager agreed with me.
Prager said that many Orthodox scholars do dislike his thought, but my hero pointed out that passionate sects in general frequently most hate those who differ only slightly.
"But if all I knew about a Conservative rabbi was that he'd spent a life studying text, I would bet that he would think you nuts," I said.
"Give me an example," replied Prager and we went on to discuss the Jewish mission to bring the world to ethical monotheism.
Prager said that the Conservative movement is growing more insular.
"I love your ideas," I told Prager, "but when I discuss them with scholars of Judaism, they cut me to peices. You Dennis use human logic outside of traditional Jewish means of thought. You are human first, Jew second. What helps make you great is that you left Judaism for years and then came back in.... [You see Jewish things inside out.]
"You are unlike every major thinker in the rabbinic tradition... unlike Joseph Karo (who compiled the most authoritative code of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch) unlike the Vilna Gaon (who studied 16 hours a day."
"The Vilna Gaon said that you should study Talmud rather than talk with your wife," said Prager.
Later I reflected that the great Gaon had much basis in the rabbinic tradition for his statement.
Prager said that it did not personally upset him that so many Jewish scholars thought him nuts, but he did feel for people like me - people who came to Judaism to touch the world with ethical monotheism and found that those who most knew Judaism seemed to occupy themselves with trivia.
I appreciated Prager's kind words but I do not mind a fight, even if it is with people who know much more than I do.
After I stopped arguing with Prager during Friday night's question period, he told my story to the audience and allowed me to plug my book.
Afterwards, during schmoozing and eating time, I met two interesting Jewish men in their late 30s - Michael and Lance. Along with Paula, we hung out at a jazz club for an hour after services.
After Prager's second talk finished early Saturday afternoon, I asked him how much energy I should use to combat congregational rabbis who deny the God of Judaism. We agreed that God matters and that reconstructionist Judaism deserves our opposition.
I asked Prager for his latest list of favorite Jewish thinkers alive today, and he did not have any. All his favorite thinkers are non-Jews.
"Who are those thinkers?" a man asked, and Prager allowed me to answer for him. I have heard most of Prager's lecture tapes and radio shows, and I have read most everything important that he has published.
I have heard recordings of every lecture that Prager gave this weekend, but luckily he threw in 20% new material.
As Prager drove out of the parking lot, he called me over to him and we talked privately for almost ten minutes.
Afterwards, back in the Conservative shul, I met Rabbi Adler's daughter Rae and and her husband Paul. We talked for fifteen minutes about Rabbi Adler, and Rae said that I probably knew more about his Judaism than she did.
At the beginning of Prager's Saturday night and his Sunday morning lectures, my hero had me hand around papers for people to sign up for his $25 a year quarterly journal Ultimate Issues.
Before I gave Prager his papers back Saturday night, I demanded that he answer another question of mine - If I had a girlfriend that I was 95% sure I wouldn't marry, did I have to tell her that?
Prager said yes and cited the shopkeeper law - "You may not ask a shopkeeper the price of an item that you know you will not buy, because it would raise the hopes of the storekeeper for no reason." (Talmud)
Before Prager drove off Saturday night, he told me again how happy he was to see me. "If I die now," he said to me, "I will die happy and in large part it will be due to you." Prager told the people gathered around us how well I knew his thought.
"If I die tonight," he said to me, "you will have a heavy responsibility to carry on."
During Sunday morning's lecture on how to raise a Jewish child in a secular society, Prager lost his train of thought. But I yelled a few words up to him and they enabled him to continue.
"I told you that he was good," Prager said to the audience of 500 people about me.
Prager hugged me again before he drove away and told me to stay in touch. If I return to Los Angeles, he said that he might have work for me.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
Prager drove away to catch a flight for Miami where he'll record the first of his guaranteed 39 weekly half-hour national tv shows. His show will be produced by the makers of the "Rush Limbaugh program" and Prager's TV show will follow Rush in most cities. If Prager's tv show gets good ratings and stays on the air, Prager's radio show should at long last go national.
I reminded Prager Saturday night that he had said that he'd never do a TV show unless he got his way in almost everything. Prager said that he had on this new show.
People gathered around me all weekend. I enjoyed being the center of attention. They wanted my address and phone number. They wanted to read my book. They wanted me to come speak for them. They wanted me. They wanted me.
One lady said to me, "So, you're the pisher (boy)."
"In my Judaism," I replied. "My Hebrew is weak."
"Most Jews in America do not know Hebrew," she replied. "I am impressed by how much Judaism you do know."
"In comparison to a scholar, I'm a pisher," I replied. "But in comparison to the average Jew, I am the Messiah."
Sunday night, the last day of January 1994, ended on an up note as the Dallas Cowboys won their second consecutive Super Bowl.
Paula's 12-year old daughter Alexis writes:
Poor little Luke
He thinks he's a duke.
He takes things for granted
Thinking nothing of the enchanted.
He sits up high in a mighty chair.
Like a log, he sits and burns...
Using women and taking turns.
Does he lie or does he deceive?
This poor little boy lives in make-believe.
L - oving
U - understanding
K - ind
E - asy
F - ighter
O - over controlling
R - idiculous
D - oes bad things intentionally!
Troubled one, troubled one, is the one thing you want only fun? You take her away, then you say, "I don't want to spend money," even though she's your honey.
So she blew him away. Now who's the troubled one?
She bows down to you.
You grab her and wonder:
Is it the ring that keeps us tight?
Take it off and you will see
What you can do if you only believe.
You can make it without the ring.
I Like It, I Drive It
Look who's behind the wheel!
I get to drive, I get to steer.
I like it, I love it,
Any make, model or year.
My non-exclusive girlfriend Paula, 36, writes:
Some part of each of us...cries out to be used. It is senseless to ask who is innocent and who is guilty.
...Sex deepens love and love deepens sex.
If I had to choose between fidelity or love from my man, I'd choose the latter. Fidelity is wonderful when willing but meaningless when exacted for a price.
I want my man to be careful with all women. Take advantage of one woman, and you take advantage of us all.
If you do something that I can't share, I want it to be good...Perhaps some benefit will trickle down to me."
Ouch! I, Luke, want to know - Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Ohev rabbi Aaron Rubinger quoted me at the beginning of his Friday night (1/28) sermon.
... Not long ago someone characterized me as being a "cheerleader for Judaism." Although I'm not sure that this person meant it as a compliment, I nevertheless found that description of my work as a rabbi flattering.... I believe that Judaism deserves cheers and applause because it has so much to offer us, our families and the world.
Paula's 12-year old daughter Alex tells me that she will "continue to write poetry as long as my mother is your most sacred keepsake. So I shall be a poet forever."
My middle name is:
C - old
A - lways thinking
R - eading
E - ats health food
Y - oung and restless
The Loving Side of Luke
The loving side of Luke is
As conceited as Prince Charming.
If you get close it can be harming.
Luke spreads himself through the Singles news
Across the country he desperately seeks substance
Even though he doesn't have any.
On this Valentine's Day I received gifts from Paula and a card.
I value our friendship above everything.... You give me a deeper understanding of love... to give without a price.... I realize you owe me nothing.
I should not stay with you for I have a love that I can't afford.... I can only make payments as I go, hoping it will payoff.... Luke, will you ever fall in love with me? Is it like the song - "How can I miss you when you never go away?"
A week ago I told Paula that our relationship will not deepen for I have no intention of exclusively committing to her. Marriage is not on our horizon. Paula tells me that several people at synagogue have told her that she is wasting her time with me.
I have the flu. Paula nursed me through the day. Her 12-year old daughter Alex writes:
Luke is ill
What a thrill.
Now he can't be intellectual.
Such a shame
Luke's sick in the brain.
My new friend Lance writes to me about reading my autobiography - "I laugh, I cry, I sing, I dance, I wet my pants."
Paula's moving to St. Petersburg - two hours drive away. I don't think that I'll go with her despite an awkward incident this week in my home when a twelve-year old boy threatened me with a knife. I had to dial 9-1-1 and bring the police out.
Paula's daughter Alex writes:
You like to lie
You like to cheat.
You're the cruelest man
A gal could meet.
I Told You
I told you that if my mother remained your most precious keepsake, I'll be a poet forever. But you've affected my creativity. Goodbye. Mom and I are leaving you behind.
My 63-year old Christian friend Leona writes:
That you stated "F--- the Holy Spirit" [file seven] makes me tremble for you...God will not allow you to say what you did and get away with it! I have never in all my life heard anyone say anything against the Holy Spirit. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. I'd be for repenting on bended knees.
The choice is ours to believe or not to believe in Jesus. I hurt for you and your mother, who may never see you again. Hurting women and breaking their hearts, using them for your own gratification, will never satisfy your real need [which is for Jesus]. If you're trying to get back at your birth mother for leaving you by your attitude and actions with women, it won't work.
I'm sorry that you did not go to the airport with your brother [beginning of this file].... You hurt him. He has just as many hurts from his childhood as you do. He needs you to care about him. You kids need to stick together. You should rally around your dad who had such grief at a young age. He loves you children...You all have been selfish and uncaring...
Rosey writes to me for the first time, responding to my six paragraph message to her on a Hopeline Bulletin Board Service (Bbs).
Do Australians usually begin conversations with their vital statistics? My friends thought your message was wonderful.... Everyone laughed at me.
[My good friend] Robbie squealed, "Someone's trying to pick up Rosey!"
I did think the way you began read like a singles ad. I thought I'd begin with "I am 103 years old, and I weigh 450 pounds." But that wouldn't be right. Robbie thought it'd be a good idea, as it would let you know that I'm not wanting to get picked up.
I want to read your whole book.
So how do you know David Conley? [Rosey, I met David by sitting in on last semester's conversion class at my syngagogue.] Robbie insists that he is a Messianic Jew and that I should stay away from you both. [Rosey, both David and I are Jews for Judaism, not Jews for Jesus.]
My friend Paula writes:
I left two men for Luke Ford - Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Both I've known for years but I'm leaving them to embrace Judaism.
I met Luke through a singles ad. My mother made the call and we listened to his message. I liked his emphasis on goodness and depth, and so I left my name and phone number. He called back three days later and on that very Wednesday we spent six hours together. For the past three months, we've seen each other most days.
Luke is tall, tanned, and handsome. His wardrobe consists largely of athletic clothes. He takes vitamins and eats healthy food. To see him you would not realize that he's recovering from six years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
He needs special treatment, such as alcohol massages for his aching muscles, and dieters tea for his clogged colon.
At times I want to confront Luke, but I usually stop when I realize that he doesn't have the strength to fight back.
Many people, particularly past girlfriends, accuse Luke of being more of a taker than a giver. Yet I've found that he rarely lets people help him.
Luke needs help.
Over time, Luke's allowed me to do his housework to free him up for his favorite pursuit - studying and performing Judaism.
At first he wanted me to drive, but he got so nervous and bossy, that I handed the keys over to him. And I found out that he loves being in the drivers seat.
Luke brings sorrow to everyone who loves him. He brings out such fear in me that I run away.
On our second date, he left the room and I slunk out the door and drove home. I think that what upset him most about my leaving was the $10 he had paid in advance for my dinner. Or was it his boasting to friends that he had a date, and then I never showed up?
He called me later that Friday evening and told me that he wasn't going to chase me. I understood and met him early the next morning at synagogue. He got to show me off, particularly to his ex-girlfriend.
Under the influence of Luke and Dennis Prager, I'm converting to Judaism.
Luke never pushed me. He simply showed me that goodness is more important than anything, including faith.
Dennis Prager's office phoned me this week and offered me a job. Though we haven't as yet worked out the details, I am flying back to California in five days.
I have told about 40 friends of my good news but not my ex-girlfriend Debbie.
Paula is no longer moving to St. Petersburg.
My friend Jules Zentner writes:
Paula told Jules that she does not plan to write to me because she does not want to be a part of my "Fan Club." Paula does not appreciate my great joy at receiving mail from many women. Paula wants to be special, not just another thing to inflate my ego.
Jane, with whom I shared an intimate afternoon, speaks to me on tape:
By Luke Ford Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve 1994-1997 1997 1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009