Gut Rumbles

September 04, 2007

Being Jewish

Originally published April 2, 2004

I am not a Jew, but I have worked for several of them back when I did advertising copywriting for a living. I was impressed by three things about the way they behaved.

1) The people I worked for had a strong sense of family. Even if they had a fuck-up in the bunch, blood was always thicker than water. They stuck together, which is also how hillbillies believe.

2) They worked. They educated their children. They instilled a drive to succeed in their offspring. One company I worked for had the founder die at a ripe old age. He left behind a trust fund that paid his grandchildern $25,000 per year (and that's in 1976) with one simple codicil in it. They had to keep a steady job, or they didn't get paid. They became school teachers, real estate agents or insurance salesmen, but they kept a fucking job. I admire that kind of attitude.

3) I liked the traditions. I learned to cuss in Yiddish, I wore a yamulka on a few occasions and I knew a mazusa (spelling might not be correct) when I saw one on the front door (that's god in a box, by the way). They knew how to eat, drink and be merry. I met several elderly people who still wore the tattoos from Nazi concentration camps. I would have been mesmerized to hear their stories, but I never asked them to tell me. That was none of my business.

I attended two Jewish weddings and I had a blast at both of them. Man, they can put the Greeks to shame when it comes to pitching a party, and that's really saying something. Food, drink and dancing out the wazoo. I never developed a taste for gifilte fish, and I always thought matzo bread tasted like unsalted Saltine crackers. But some of the other food was delicious.

Other than the weddings, I never attended a Jewish religious service. I wish now that I had. We have Habersham Woods subdivision in Savannah, which is nicknamed "Little Jerusalem" by the locals, where I often saw families walking to the synagogue to worship. I admire people with that kind of fiber.

That's exactly why the Arabs hate them.

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