Haters gonna hate

And man, am I hating today.

I know I shouldn’t. I know it’s Elul and precisely the time I should be turning inside to check myself before I wreck myself.

But there is this sorta-kinda friend, a high school classmate of my Bro-In-Law-To-Be, that makes me want to scream every time she mentions Judaism.

She is a Christian. An Assemblies of G-d Christian who writes wonderfully Christian Facebook posts like “Has never been more grateful for Jesus’ death & the LIFE that came when He rose again! Happy Easter!” and is thankful that it looks like she may have a pew buddy for worship.

That’s cute. That’s very Easter-y. It’s very Christian-y. I’m glad her faith means so much to her and that the holidays really speak to her and that community is important to her.

She interned at Hillel a few years back, however, and I wish she never had. I know it’s WRONG but I’m always really skeptical of Christians that want to learn more about Judaism. I’m horrible, I know, I’m always talking about how the Majority needs to check its privilege and try to understand what it’s like to be the Minority. But strangely, the Christians that do this never seem to learn where the line called “Approriate” is drawn.

Through the internship, she made lots of Jewish friends and knew she wanted to learn more.

So she signed up for the JCC’s Intro Course. What does she call this class? “My Jew class.” As in, arguing with Jews about the importance of holidays, and when proved incorrect, “apologizes” by saying “Oh, I must not remember my notes from Jew Class!”

Or, when wanting to hang out with the friends she made there, she’ll write them, “wanna be Jews on Friday?” meaning, can we go to Kabbalat Shabbat services?

Apparently she doesn’t know the history of this word. Or that epithets in general tend to be monosyllabic with harsh consonants because they are easier to spit out of your mouth in that certain condescending, patronizing, hateful tone.

And she goes to services so often that she wrote a D’var Torah. This bothers me. D’vrei Torah are typically given from the bimah. That, to me, is something only for Jews. If this were a Torah study class, and we’re all talking about what a parsha means to us, or what we learned from it, I have no problem with people of other faiths giving their views and gleanings. Maybe it’s my own sense of decency, but I would never agree to give the equivalent of the sermon, which, let’s face it, the D’vrei Torah have become on Friday nights, in someone else’s worship service. Give a lecture? Attend a class? Cool. Sermon giving? Not cool. In my not humble opinion.

This somewhat friend even once wrote “off to [services] with [A Dude] and {Another Friend], but won’t be allowed to sit with them 😦 my first segregated Shabbat! I do love being Jewish :)”

I do believe I flipped my mother fricken lid.

That fb post was too much for me. I responded snarkily, “Since when did you dunk in the mikvah?” and her response was “No mikvah for me… I def play for Team Jesus 🙂 still love a good Shabbat tho :)”.

My blood pressure was too high to respond further. You’re not a Jew. Saying you are, as though it’s an outfit that you can dress up with or take off at your convenience is not okay. It is not okay because of the relationship and history between your religion and mine. It is not okay because converts work their butts off to become Jewish and are still questioned about their authenticity years later. It’s not okay because it sounds disgustingly fetish-ish, as though we’re some entertainment and not you know, actually worshipping G-d and keeping and remembering our Sabbath.

She’s leaving the area for work travel in a few days. Her friend responded to the Facebook post announcing this, and once again, this morning, I read Sorta Kinda Friend’s response of “Let’s be Jews on Friday!” I am two seconds away from responding. And it won’t be pretty.

Dear Sorta Kinda Friend,

You are not a Jew. PLEASE stop saying you are. It belittles the ten years of work I did to go before a bet din and to enter a mikvah. Worship services aren’t entertainment. The title Jew isn’t some play thing. Going to midnight mass doesn’t make me Catholic any more than Kabbalat Shabbat makes you Jewish. Have some damn respect. This isn’t funny. It’s infuriating.

Mikvah Bound


11 thoughts on “Haters gonna hate

  1. Ugh. Yeah, that would really bother me, too. Actually, it bothers me just reading it. Have you tried taking her aside and trying to explain to her why what she’s doing and the words she’s using could be could be construed at offensive and/or condescending? Though personally, I’m not sure I’d be able to do that in a calm fashion, so maybe it’s not a great idea in that case.

    I have a pretty good friend who’s Christian- very Christian, of a more right-wing denomination. She had mentioned a couple of times that she knows basically nothing about Judaism (at least not modern Judaism), and I said at some point that if she was interested, she could come along to services with me. She jumped at the chance, and I was a little nervous that something similar to this could happen, but it was great. She was actually really worried about inadvertently doing something untoward, but I walked her through it, and she said after that she had a great time, though the Hebrew threw her a bit. In any case, the next time we’re in town at the same time, I’ll invite her along again, if she’s still interested. So it can work out, but the fetishizing of Judaism by some in evangelical circles really creeps me out and offends me, and the way this acquaintance of yours is going about things is just completely inappropriate. I don’t think that’s just my convert self, talking, either. It would be in equally bad taste for me to go to a Catholic church and take communion or sneak into a Mormon Temple or something. I don’t have any inherent problem with the word “Jew,” but it’s all in the context, you know?

    Hope you had a good Shabbos!

    • We’re on opposite sides of the country at the moment so I can’t “sit her down” unfortunately. I tried writing a big long email to her but I just got way too snarky. I need to have a few weeks pass so I can deal with this intellectually and only minimally emotionally.

  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly, both as a fellow jbc and as someone who is in a similar albeit not so extreme situation as you. The feddishization of Judaism in many evangelical circles is incredibly unsettling. I asked an individual who is very similar to the girl you’re describing here about why he and his wife, for example, fast on Yom Kippur when they’re devout Seventh Day Adventists and it is all about how Jesus supposedly lived and the desire to learn more about his faith to deepen and prhaps more authenticate their own. Christian appropriation really, really gets under my skin and although I expressed my misgivings about this individual to another Christian friend of mine, I am not sure how to constructively approach the issue myself. There is such a fine, fine line between phylosemitism and complete disrespect. Oh yeah, and how your friend uses the word Jew, as is also true in my case, sickens me. Learn some history!

  3. Oh, G-d. Just reading that made me feel icky. I would be really annoyed, especially by the whole “let’s be Jews on Friday” thing, as if it’s a game. Definitely odd. Can’t say I’ve met people like this… yet! I have heard of some Christians wanting to learn more about Judaism because they see it as the foundation of their faith and therefore important to them. It’s still very odd, though, especially how she’s going about it!

    My own blog about my conversion to Judaism is here – http://learningtokvetch.wordpress.com/ – love the title of your blog. Especially as it reminds me that I’m “mikvah bound” after the High Holy Days!

    • Yeah, I didn’t want my blog to be just about conversion process, but rather also be able to include what it was like on the other side. And really? Despite all my complaining on here, it’s pretty rad.

      Mazal tov on your mikvah date!

  4. I know it’s WRONG but I’m always really skeptical of Christians that want to learn more about Judaism.

    Me too. I don’t know why. I hate being the ambassador of Judaism to Christians, too.

    Anyway, yeah, send that letter! Sometimes you’ve just got to say it. That’s totally annoying.

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