I Was Jewish for 72 Hours

For three days, I thought I was Jewish. Until my mom burst my bubble.

Oy, vey.

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.



Categories: Daily Life

Tags: , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. I dunno what to even say to this post. I feel like it’s a little lighthearted with all the antisemitism and white supremacy floating around these days, but at least you ran it by Deb first?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I am 100% serious that I wished I was Jewish! I don’t mean the least bit of offense with this post. I’m fascinated by the culture and really would have been honored to claim at least partial ancestry! And yes, Deb has a great sense of humor and we can talk freely about these things.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I love the culture too. Great friends of our family, my parents’ side, were Romanian Jews and survivors of the camps, and when they used to invite us over during my teen years, the food, the culinary side alone, was just so captivating (and delicious) I began to look at Jewish culture and read everything I could get my hands on. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Deb told me a lot of Polish people especially don’t realize they’re of Jewish descent because when they fled to that area they never talked about being Jewish out of fear, so it was definitely plausible.

        Like

  2. I’m sincerely sorry you can’t claim Larry David as part of your tribe. The similarities are uncanny.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol, just a few days ago, someone told me they found out they were Ashkenazi from one of those dna tests. Growing up, many people thought I was Jewish, based on my last name (German), hair color (very dark) and where we lived. I was fortunate to have many Jewish friends, including my BFF of the last 53 years, who’s like my sister. As far as I know, I’m not, but I haven’t done the dna test!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was very excited to welcome you into the tribe of the chosen people! To AutumnAshbough’s point (there is probably a way to link them here, but I’m a bad millennial who does not know how), there is a difference between cultural appropriation and learning more about one’s own culture. I was fully confident that Mark would handle this situation appropriately and give his newfound lineage the respect it deserves. If he started wandering into the homes’ is strangers searching for a bris to attend, that’s when we’d have to have a chat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awh, fun. I have an acquaintance who is half Jewish, but practices a different religion. She does, nevertheless, take all the Jewish holidays off work as excused absences. It’s interesting how being Jewish seems more a nationality than a religion.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Parents can be so disappointing at times! I was so excited for you too. I mean, I was pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, damn happy about this.

    I always thought I might have a little Jewish in me….I mean, no one can give Mother’s guilt like I can!

    Liked by 1 person

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