I don’t often dive into the topic of religion, but wanted to share a conversation I had this evening with a woman that I was introduced to at a social function. I noticed she was wearing a Star of David necklace and was originally from News York, and figured that might be a nice starting point for a conversation.
ME: Oh, I noticed your necklace – are you Jewish?
WOMAN: Yes, I am. Are you?
ME: Well, I was raised in Jewish home, but I’m no longer Jewish.
ME: Yeah, my father is Jewish – he was born and raised in the Bronx, most of my relatives are New York Jews.
WOMAN: Well, is your mother Jewish?
ME: No, she –
WOMAN (dismissively, authoritatively): Oh, well then you’re not Jewish.
So there you have it. From an obvious expert on All Things Jewish, who has pronounced me – and by extension my father – to be Not Jewish. Huh. That will be news to him, what with him being Bar Mitzvahed, going to temple on Fridays, serving as the Jewish lay leader at every military installation he was assigned to, celebrating Passover and Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah and such each year.
And yes, yes, I know about the silly “rules” that some people cling to about what IS and IS NOT Jewish, but they are quite simply nonsense. If a person believes in the tenets of Judaism and practices them, then that person is Jewish, regardless of any accident of birth.