Tuesday, April 15, 2014

But How Do I Know I'm A Jew?

Yesterday, as all y'all know, was the first night of Passover.

As we do here as chez delegar, we invited all our non-Jewish friends down to be afflicted with us, though as it developed only Uncle Charger could actually attend this year, and we had a fine Seder*, remembering we had been slaves in Egypt.

The kid has, though, over the past year or two, been getting fidgetty, not to say rebellious, over the whole Jew thing.  "What if I'm not Jewish?" she keeps demanding.  "Maybe I'm not even Jewish!"

"You are Jewish," I tell her.  "That's not something you get to choose."

"You're not Jewish!"

"Right.  Also not something I get to choose."

"But --"

"Your dad is Jewish, so you're Jewish.  That's how it works."

"But it goes by the mother."

"Only among the Orthodox.  We're not Orthodox."

"We're atheists!  And --"

"Most Jews are atheists.  I bet there's more atheists Jews than any other kind."

"But what makes me Jewish then, if I don't even believe in God?" she demanded.

I rolled my eyes.  "This entire argument makes you Jewish.  Two Jews, three opinions."

"I hate that saying," the kid said.  "Why isn't it one Jew, two opinions?"

I laughed.

"You're not funny," she informed me.

"Plus," I said, "every other part of you is Jewish. What do you like to do with your time?  Read.  Study.  Work.  Who do you respect?  People who are smart and educated.  What do you like to do for fun?  What do you like to eat?"

"I like Christian food too," she objected.

"Oh, come on.  Name a Christian food you like."

She pondered.  "Is there any Christian food?"

Which -- you know --- excellent question.

But frankly, only a 15 year old Jewish child would argue about whether she was actually a Jew.

*The menu:  roasted chicken, asparagus, sweet potato tzimmes, gefilte fish, and KFP matzo which we had to have shipped all the way from NYC, since while you can buy matzo in the Fort, you cannot by KFP matzo.  Also, matzo ball soup.  Dr. Skull makes the best matzo ball soup.


Bardiac said...

Fanesca! (It's an Ecuadorian soup made for Holy Week.) (You didn't say American Christian! Though maybe ham would count as a Christian food?)

delagar said...

Jello Salad! With the little marshmallows! Deviled eggs!

Plus dump cake! (I thought of all these later.)

Athena Andreadis said...

I think there are some over-generalizations here. For one, there are other cultures that place a high value on intelligence, education and hard work. For another, this discussion seems to be conflating religion with the larger category of cultural identification. Related to that, plenty of self-aware teenagers question their religious antecedents, for which they can exercise a choice and which is a narrower and less compulsory attribute than the larger one of cultural belonging.

delagar said...

Yeah, I was mostly kidding, Athena!

delagar said...

And venting!

Athena Andreadis said...

Send the kid to me for a coupla weeks this summer. She'll definitely know she's NOT in Kansas anymore!

delagar said...

Heh! Don't tempt me!

Dr. Koshary said...

"Most Jews are atheists. I bet there's more atheists Jews than any other kind."

I actually laughed out loud reading that line. So great.

A zisn Pesach to all at chez Delagar!

delagar said...

Thanks, Dr. Koshary!

The kid would like me to tell all y'all that she's not arguing about being a Jew because she doesn't WANT to be a Jew.

She's not sure she QUALIFIES to be a Jew, is the problem.

She wanted to make that clear.

GaryOfTheNorth said...

Hot crossed buns are specifically a Christian food, for Easter time.

I enjoy your blog delagar. Found it because I was looking for "Im not arguing Im Jewish".

delagar said...

Welcome to the blog, Gary!