So! In foggy London town, people are wondering who is a Jew and who is not a Jew! Why can't we all be Jews? Because some Jews are more Jewy than other Jews, apparently. Are you? Find out! Question 1:
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
(A) A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
(B) Eggs Benedict.
(C) A Christmas ham.
(D) A bagel, a blintz, lox, matzo brei, kreplach, shmear, whitefish, sable, a "nosh" of anything, or nothing, because you're getting bar/bat-mitzvah'd next weekend and your parents told you to watch your figure.
You think Larry David is
(A) Not funny.
(D) Bad for the Jews.
Your parents are divorced, and they both want you to come home for the high holidays. You:
(A) Go home to wherever you still have a good weed hookup.
(B) Go wherever more singles will be.
(C) Split holidays; Ma gets Yom Kippur, Dad gets Rosh Hashana.
(D) Can we not talk about my mother for once, please?
You want to marry a Gentile man or Gentile woman. How's this gonna work?
(A) Our kids will be progressive, they'll get more presents, it'll be fine. Give your college roommate Aariz a ring, we'll ordain him as a Universal Life minister, turn this thing into a rockin' multicultural experience.
(B) Well, we've lied to Mom for this long. What's another 20 years?
(C) Honestly, who cares? We love each other and we haven't been subject to a New York Magazine profile yet, so this can't be that complicated.
(D) He/she'll convert! We've got a great Rabbi and he's so welcoming and this is gonna be easy; we'll just do it in the closest temple, and be done with it. My spouse has fully embraced my spirituality and culture believes what Jews believe so, you know, draw baby a Mikvah and let's get goin' here!
(E) You're converting in an Orthodox temple, with an Orthodox rabbi, under strictly Orthodox rules. Throw out those Manolos, by the way.
Your parents are:
(C) One's Jewish, one ain't.
(D) They're both Jewish, Mom converted in a conservative Judasim temple a long time ago, but now attends Orthodox services with Dad.
(E) They were both born, raised, and remain Orthodox. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of them converted, but if they did, it was definitely an Orthodox synagogue. Nothing less. If they ever found me with a Shalom Auslander book, they would kick the everloving shit out of me.
If you answered A, B, or C to any of the questions, give yourself -5, -3, and -1 points.
If you answered D to any of the questions, give yourself 0.01 points.
And if you answered E to any of the questions, give yourself 100 points.
0 to -25 Points: Goyim.
1 to 99 Points: Meh.
100+ Points: Mazel Tov! According to certain authorities, You're a Jew! This is the only circumstance under which the government-funded Jews' Free School in North London will admit your child. Congrats:
The case began when a 12-year-old boy, an observant Jew whose father is Jewish and whose mother is a Jewish convert, applied to the school, JFS. Founded in 1732 as the Jews' Free School, it is a centerpiece of North London's Jewish community. It has around 1,900 students, but it gets far more applicants than it accepts....Because M's mother converted in a progressive, not an Orthodox, synagogue, the school said, she was not a Jew - nor was her son. It turned down his application.
Mind you, this is the New York Times most emailed articled today for a reason. There are wide, wide gaps in some Jewish communities where, despite regularly attending services, embracing Jewish customs into one's family's lives, and practicing on a daily basis, you are still not considered Jewish. This isn't just in the Orthodox community. A good example came up in last night's comments about this very issue:
I'm a half-breed (Shiksa mother) and I vividly remember being told that I was not Jewish by a girl at summer camp. I cried for days and couldn't understand how I was Jewish enough for a Bat Mitzvah and Hebrew school but not Jewish enough for this little girl in my bunk.
In the great literature of our time, Harry Potter, people without two magical parents are considered by evil angry purebred magical people to be "Mudbloods." This is kind of like that. Am I suggesting the Orthodox community in question in the New York Times today are anything like J.K. Rowling's Death Eaters? Not at all.
But it's interesting to think that the Anti-Defamation League—a Jewish organization whose sole purpose is to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people, to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike," but has been criticized for its often elitist, extremist Zionist positioning—has yet to speak out on this one! Shocking. So: how antisemitic are some of these
Orthodox Jews, of course, sympathize with the school, saying that observance is no test of Jewishness, and that all that matters is whether one's mother is Jewish. So little does observance matter, in fact, that "having a ham sandwich on the afternoon of Yom Kippur doesn't make you less Jewish," Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue, said recently.
Damn. Looks like I'll have to re-arrange the next questionnaire.
Jew-on-Jew antisemitism is an actual problem. This thing's gonna strike a very loud chord with many, many people, in many, many places. The case in question has since been overturned on the basis that the school has taken it upon itself to administer an ethnic test and a verdict is expected in the coming months.