For three days, I thought I was Jewish. Until my mom burst my bubble.
When my folks arrived on Saturday, we were doing the usual sitting-outside-and-catching-up thing. That’s when my mom dropped a bombshell.
“I think we might have some Jewish ancestry,” she said.
That was news to me, though not a total surprise. I’m a veritable smorgasbord of ethnicity. Russian, Slavic, Hungarian, and Polish for sure. Maybe Bulgarian and Austrian. Plus, there’s the fact that I’m a big fan of Larry David. I could barely curb my enthusiasm over the idea that I might have Jewish blood coursing through my veins, so I reached out to my closest Jewish friend.
Hey, exciting news, I texted her. I might be Jewish!!
Welcome to the club! We are happy to have you, she replied. Did you wake up this morning and feel a calling or did someone do a DNA test?
Deb cracks me up.
In any case, I was really warming up to the idea of being an uncloseted Jew. I thought it was a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good thing!
I had so many questions I wanted to ask Deb. I even compiled a list!
- What am I supposed to contemplate exactly on Shabbat?
- Do Yukon golds or Russet potatoes work better in latkes?
- Speaking of, do you have a good recipe for latkes?
- How come some menorahs have seven candleholders and others have nine?
- Should I attend a bris?
I even started to get a little worked up thinking about the persecution my people have faced for thousands of years.
Only to discover that they aren’t, after all, my people.
“Never mind,” my mom informed me on Tuesday. “We’re not Jewish.”
“What do you mean, we’re not Jewish?!” I beseeched her. The very idea had me verklempt! It’s amazing how quickly I embraced my newfound heritage.
“We’re Russian Orthodox,” she said.
I felt a momentary glimmer of hope when I heard the word Orthodox, but alas, in this context it had nothing to do with Judaism. I then had to break the not-a-Jew-news to still-a-Jew Deb, who was similarly distraught.
No! Are we sure?! she replied. When I assured her that yes, we are sure, she said, That’s sad. I was legit excited for you to write a blog about it.
Well, guess what, Deb? I may not be able to write a blog post about being Jewish, but ain’t nothin’ stopping me from writing one about almost being Jewish.
Consider this an early Hanukkah gift from me to you.