Shalom, Uncle Jack

November 13, 2018 GMT

Editor: One of the greatest blessings in my life was having an Uncle Jack Wichner. I grew up in the Rolling Mill Hill section of Wilkes-Barre and I am a Roman Catholic Permanent Deacon and the parish life coordinator at St. Andrew’s on Parrish Street. I struggled with how to react to the temple shootings in Pittsburgh. I reminded our parish family that we worship the same God. I spoke about how the man we proclaim as God’s Son was a Jew. But all that sounded a bit too academic. What rang true for me was my Uncle Jack. This wonderful man lost a son a few years before I was born and he and I became close almost from the moment of my birth. He taught me so very many things. He drove for Martz Trailways and took me on many charter trips with him. I saw New York City for the first time with him when I was five. I rode the subway and the Staten Island Ferry and went to a Yankees’ game for the first time with him. He danced with my wife at our wedding, and when he passed away I was crushed. My uncle Jack Wichner was Jewish. Whenever I hear anything even remotely anti-Semitic, I think of my uncle. I escaped embracing stereotypes because they never described this incredible man I loved so very much. When I heard about those people killed in Pittsburgh, they weren’t “others,” they were my Uncle Jack. The world would be a better, more loving, and more peaceful place if everyone had an Uncle Jack. Shalom, Uncle Jack. Shalom to all. Deacon William F. Behm Parish life coordinator St. Andrew Parish WILKES-BARRE