My Mother and Mastercard
People who meet my mother say that we are a lot alike. There is a major difference, though; I am a Jew who believes in Jesus, and my mother is a Jew who does not. Well, more about my mother later.
I am an attorney and I serve as General Counsel with Jews for Jesus. It is not always as exciting as it was when I appeared before the United States Supreme Court on March 3, but it is always interesting.
For example, last October I received a letter from a lawyer representing Mastercard. He threatened all kinds of legal action if Jews for Jesus did not immediately cease violating Mastercard’s trademark.” In addition, he demanded that we send back all of our tracts with the Mastercard logo for “disposal.” That was just what I didn’t need in the middle of my preparation for the Supreme Court case. I sighed and called headquarters and Jews for Jesus’ Information Officer, Susan Perlman, sent me a copy of Shop ‘Till You Drop, one of their more than 200 different broadsides. “What a great tract,” I thought as I read it. The theme was about asking Yeshua (Jesus) to be the Master of one’s life and to take charge of it. The art displayed a parody of the Mastercard logo, but I did my research and, frankly, Mastercard had no case at all or any right to demand that we stop distributing the tract.
I called Moishe, explained our legal position and told him I would call him back if I heard anything more from Mastercard. Well, as we say in the South, “sho ’nuff!” – they called back. This time they threatened to get a restraining order in New York. Immediately I called Moishe and apprised him of Mastercard’s latest threat. I said, “Since we are almost out of the tract, and the missionary who wrote it is no longer on staff, why don’t I see if we can work something out? We would not admit to wrongdoing since we did nothing wrong. Rather, I would tell Mastercard’s lawyers that ‘the tract is almost out of print, so we would be fighting over nothing.'”
Moishe said, “Jay, I don’t even like that broadside all that much, and you know that I take your legal advice seriously, but there is an important principle at stake here. You said we are legally correct, right?”
“Right,” I acknowledged, “but Moishe, it would be expensive.”
“Well, if we are legally correct we cannot afford a bad precedent,” Moishe said.
So, I wrote Mastercard a letter, telling them that we were not violating anything and I considered the matter closed.
At this point you might be asking, what does my mother have to do with all this? She’s the next part of this story. My parents live in Atlanta – about ten minutes from my home – but with my heavy traveling schedule, I don’t get to see them as much as I would like. Much of my traveling involves my being at Jews for Jesus headquarters in San Francisco about one week out of every month. During my April trip to Northern California, my parents were in Southern California for a business trip. My folks said, “Why don’t you come down from San Francisco to Los Angeles and have dinner with us?” “Sounds good,” I said. My parents said they would pick me up at the airport.
Here I should tell you that besides faith in Yeshua, another thing that my mother and I do not have in common is shopping. My mother loves to shop. And frankly, I don’t like shopping at all. In fact, my wife Pam generally has to drag me along.
Some people think my mother is a “card.” She is in the retail business. She owns a boutique that sells colorful clothes and jewelry. She likes to wear as much of the merchandise at one time as possible. On her, eight bracelets look terrific, and earrings half as big as her head only enhance her beautiful Jewish face. She is never without a smile, and where other people might look overdressed wearing the same things, my mother could always wear more and look great.
Anyhow, owning that store, you would think my mother would never go into another shop or buy more clothes or jewelry. Not so. She is a recreational shopper and will shop anywhere, anytime.
When my parents picked me up at the Los Angeles airport and I got into the car, my mother told me that while she and my father had been pursuing her hobby of shopping, one of our Jews for Jesus staff had been handing out tracts. My mother had taken one and had read it.
“What did you think of it, Mom?” I asked. “It was very well done, clever. It really explained what you believe and why,” she said.
“Great! Which tract was it?” I asked.
She said, “I have it right here. It’s the one with the Mastercard picture on it.”
I almost fell out of my seat.
That incident reaffirmed something for me. While my mother did not immediately accept Yeshua into her life, it just goes to show that he really is the Master of our lives, and that we who believe in him must stick with our principles. If Moishe had followed my legal advice and had “run scared,” my mother wouldn’t have gotten the tract that is being sent out with this Newsletter, that tract that was just right for her.