I’m Jewish. That makes me a minority. I realize that there are people in Indiana, especially in some of the smaller towns, that don’t know a lot of Jewish people, or maybe any for that matter. In fact, I rode with a girl in college who said I was the first Jewish person she knew and was really friends with. I’m OK with all of this. I actually enjoy that a lot of my non-Jewish friends are interested in my faith. One, a staunch believer in Jesus (she says Jesus is the one reason she could never convert), even came to Friday night services with me once. How cool is that?
What I am not OK with is someone turning my religion into a novelty.
Last night I met (well I suppose re-met technically since we went to the same high school, though never knew each other) a girl. Suddenly, mid-catch-up-on-our-lives conversation, she looked at me and asked, “Are you Jewish?” I know, I know, it’s the nose and the dark hair that give it away, right? I replied, “Yes.” She then squealed, “Oooh I LOVE Jewish people!!” I laughed. I’d had a few beers. For a split second I thought, Huh, that’s a weird thing to say, but I let it pass. She then proceeded to tell a story about a Jewish guy she’d gone on a few dates with. She said some fairly bitchy and rude things about him, which I also let slide. I really regret not getting up and walking away at that point.
I woke up this morning and the more I thought about that comment, the more unsettled and angry I got. This girl was turning my religion, my belief in a higher power, my faith, into a novelty. How can you say that you love Jewish people? That’s such a ridiculous thing to say. She loves every Jewish person? Why? We’re not all the same. Some of us are giant assholes. It’s true. We do share the same beliefs and traditions. You could love those, sure. Nobody walks around saying “I love Catholic people,” and not because Catholic people aren’t cool. A lot of them are. You just don’t say that. It’s a broad, sweeping statement that’s honestly very ignorant.
It’s rare that someone offends me based on my religion. I don’t have stories that involve me being harassed because I’m Jewish. I guess I just hang around people who are classier and more open-minded than that. To my friends, I’m Julia, who also happens to be Jewish. To this girl, I felt like I was only Jewish, that’s it.