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Jun 11 2012

Shielding My Kid from Christianity

By at 9:49 am

rudolph the rednosed reindeerWhen E was younger I was determined to treat Christianity as a secret I could keep from him. This would be no small feat in our neck of the woods. Churches abound. Billboards and bumper stickers Praise Jesus! Grocery clerks tell customers to have a blessed day. In the heart of the south, where upon learning your name, the next question many ask is: “Where do you attend church?”

E was born in Boston where I was heavily entrenched in the Jewish community. Six months after his birth, we moved to my hometown of Atlanta and I found the pervasiveness of Christian messages overwhelming. After living in Boston for nearly eight years, I had forgotten just how much Jesus rules the South. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 10 2012

Yes, I Live in Nashville, and Yes, I am Jewish

By at 11:44 am

"You joosh?"

Time to hide the Jew stuff: the HVAC guys are coming. HVAC is pronounced H-V-A-C, by the way. I used to say “aytchvack,” thinking I sounded cool and handy, until a technician corrected me. I’ve checked online, and authorities are mixed, but I’m sticking with the letters.

We chose a huge maintenance firm based on the assumption it would give us peace of mind. Not with prices or guarantees, but with accountability via a hierarchy of supervisors. When we had dudes from small handyman services, I never knew what would happen. I could be preached to, “witnessed” at, or told I’m going to hell. Why? Because we live in Nashville and our house is Jewish.

Evidence is everywhere: e.g. books, seder plates, Hebrew puzzles, Ketubah (wedding contract, jumbo-size, gold letters) and whatever holiday project I might be in the middle of all scream Jewiness. If my husband is home, he’s the evidence himself, what with his Ashkenazic je-ne-sais-quois and Philly dipthongs. Sometimes, I’m glad when he is, so I don’t have to deal with the weirdness alone, but sometimes his presence is what triggers the weirdness. “Are you Joosh?” the tree man asked him, “’cause you sure look Joosh.” And so on. Read the rest of this entry →


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