Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Yes, I Do Live

Golly, how I have missed you. 

I know it is not fair of me, but I shan't enlighten my audience just yet about the current state of things. It has been a hectic time in my life—"the best of times, the worst of times"—and I shall remain shtum for a while longer. 

Yet oh, the sweet joy of typing! I cannot abandon it. So I shall move on to other topics. 

Today's discussion: Cultural identity.
Via pucker mob
Mark Oppenheimer brings up a  point I didn't notice before: There is a delicate difference between "Jew" and "Jewish"—the former is used hesitantly, the latter preferred ("Reclaiming 'Jew'"). 

But do us frummies have any qualms identifying as "a Jew," as opposed to "Jewish"? In my own case, I flatly informed someone just the other week that "I'm a religious Jew." It may be more of an issue for the secular ones of our flock. 

Yes, so we are Jews, one big happy family, etc. etc. Under that umbrella, however, due to the myriad years wandering this inhospitable Earth, we have been transplanted into a variety of countries with their own ethnicities and cultures which became absorbed into our bloodstream. 

How can it be that my nephew is a stereotypical Hungarian in infancy? It latched onto the genes, people. 

J. Courtney Sullivan worries in "Kiss Me, I'm Pretty Sure I'm Irish" that despite her firm Irish upbringing, DNA testing may show that she is not so. 
Being Irish is something I have in common with my relatives, even when distance and politics divide us. Last summer, on a beach vacation, five of us simultaneously pulled out tubes of S.P.F. 50. “We’re Irish,” someone said by way of explanation. The same reason is given for why we rarely hug or talk about our feelings.
Sounds like my crew. Except we say, "We're Hungarian." 

Am I 100% Hungarian? Of course not. That's the joy of it, though; as a Jew, I know I'm not 100% anything, except (hopefully, ancestry could have become muddled over millennia of scurrying) Jewish.
Whatever the results, I’ll still know by heart all those childhood jigs and reels that are responsible for my good posture and complete inability to dance like a normal person. I’ll still sunburn easily. I’ll still come from a large, Irish Catholic family, even if we’re a little less Irish than we thought.
So I shall swoon at the sight of aesthetic beauty, take pride in interior decorating and personal fashion, moan over nukedli paprikash, and whatever else that comes along with being Hungarian. And if I'm not? No worries. The Jews will still keep me.


Altie said...

:-) glad to see you're alive and well. Will look forward to your future posts again.

Daniel Saunders said...

Good to have you back, however briefly! I hope the best gets better and the worst also gets better!

I'm also keeping quiet on my blog about something potentially big in my life... strange feeling, wanting to share and also not wanting to share.

Re: Jew and Jewish, I used to think that, but I came across an article by Hillel Halkin (writing as Philologos) saying that it's just a grammatical quirk, noun (Jew) vs adjective (Jewish), the former used to suggest a primary attribute, the latter for one attribute among many. He does suggest, however, that the religious might be more willing than the secular to identify as primarily being "a Jew" and not just "Jewish... among other things."

I call myself an Ashkenazi mongrel; I'm part Polish, part Russian and a tiny (but important!) bit Yekkish. I do consider myself to have something of a Yekkish personality, however, even if it is only an eighth of my genetic makeup.

Anonymous said...

Why do you quote from the New York Times?

That newspaper embodies relentless hate against the Jewish people, and the Jewish state and the Jewish faith.

That newspaper is passionately in love with bloodthirsty Muslim terrorists who want to wipe the entire Jewish homeland off the map forever, thereby inflicting another Holocaust on Jews.

PLEASE do teshuvah!

PLEASE stop reading New York Times!

Anonymous said...

Yay! So nice to hear from you!

rosesarered said...

Welcome back!