I blame this primarily on growing up in “cottage country“, north of Toronto. thinking back, as hard as I can, I can think of only one Jewish person in my high school — as in all four years while I was there. and I only remember that because a friend made an insensitive remark in history class and she countered with the fact that her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. so there may have been others, but it never came up, and I never would have known.
the reason this comes up today is because of a friend of mine on Facebook linked to the OFFICIAL HUG A JEW day. it made me think about the Jews I know, and have known, and how I’ve figured out if they’re jewish or not, and whether or not this was particularly important to them.
that a friend-of-my-friend on Facebook wrote:
sued for sexual harassment, or for being exclusive in your behavior, or possibly for falsely accusing with your behavior? sounds like more hassle than it’s worth — but it’s in the rules:
HUG A JEW DAY RULES:
*Every Jew that you see you must address with a hug
which puts me in a bind; I’d like to join the facebook group to be supportive, but I’d be violating the rules because I have no Jewdar.
*This group is for anyone to join, that is except Jew-haters.
uhhh, ok… I’m sure that’s going to stop the Aryan Nation. no chance you’ll get hate-posts on the group wall with a stern warning like that.
*Jew, in this event includes any sect or part of Jewishness (half, quarter, traditional, conservative, reform, orthodox, chareide, chabad, ALL JEWS INCLUDED).
it doesn’t mention if they’re talking about religion or ethnicity, but on the other hand they’re being pretty inclusive. I might get a hug out this — I mean, Ann Coulter said that Christians are just ‘perfected’ Jews*, so maybe all Christians should get a hug too. Christians believe in the Old Testament (Tanakh) and Jesus… I mean, if 1/3 of your diety (the Trinity) came to live among men as a Jew, that ought to count for something.
which reminds me of one of my favorite lines from any Mel Brooks movie (and which I can’t find a reference for, so forgive my paraphrasing):
Barf to Yogurt: Are you a Dru?
Yogurt: Mmm, I’m Dru-ish.
“OJ Simpson — Not A Jew” [Adam Sandler]
the guys on my hockey team that talk about Hebrew school — I’m pretty sure they’re jewish. but my friend at work that went to Brandeis, I had no clue. I know, I know, Brandeis has no ethnoreligious restrictions — but when I said to him that I didn’t realize he was jewish, he said, “dude, I went to Brandeis” [implied: duh]
anyway, HUG A JEW DAY is February 2. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. maybe somebody will make like the Irish at St. Patty’s Day and sell “Hug Me, I’m Jewish” buttons — that would make this a lot easier.
* I am in no way endorsing Coulter’s opinion.