Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being A Bad Jew: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm a bad Jew. Let's just get that right out in the open. Those who know me know that despite being Jewish, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to...well, Jewish things. Ask me a question, any question, Jewish-related --- when a certain holiday is, how to spell a Yiddish term, what some ritual represents --- and I'll stare at you vacantly until you walk away and let the message soak in your head that I'm the wrong person to ask such questions.

Tonight is the final night of Hanukkah...

Note two things:

1) I originally spelled it incorrectly, using only one K.

And 2) I think it's the final night of Hanukkah. Honestly, I don't have the first damn clue.

...and I feel compelled to talk about the fact that I'm probably not the best representative of my own religious heritage.

For example:

I'm not into potato latkes. First off, non-Jews have been told that potato latkes are like hash browns. This is a lie. Potato latkes are just weird-tasting. They're burnt, they're oily, and some of them have a pancake consistency that just doesn't work. Plus, there is no condiment -- sour cream, cheese, ketchup -- that really works well with them.

Then there's Manichevitz.

Note: I spelled that wrong. It's Manischewitz.

I hate that crap. Now I don't like alcohol much in general, so maybe I'm a bad example. But I'm the only Jew I know who hates Manischewitz, the alcoholic staple of every Jewish meal. On special occasions, Manischewitz gets drank in such abundance that I have another name for it:

Jewish White Lightning.

Other "Nev's a bad Jew" examples:

---I hate wearing yarmulkes.

---Until recently, I spelled "yarmulke" yamika.

---I don't keep kosher.

---I prefer Oscar Meyer to Hebrew National.

---Despite everything listed above (and below) I insist on my parents giving me Hanukah presents.

---I once again misspelled Hanukkah.

---I don't know when any of the holidays start and end.

---Every time we do the prayers at Jewish holiday dinners, I think to myself: "Can we speed this up so we can get to the food?"

---Matzah ball soup makes me nauseous.

---And I used my Bar Mitzvah to lobby my entire family to give me lots of money.

Now in my defense:

It is my opinion that most Jews are like me: Ignorant and yet excepting of gifts on behalf of their religion. I'm a "cultural" Jew, which means I know nothing and eat food. The difference between me and other cultural Jews is that I can admit who I am.

Also, I can name three non-Jewish friends off the top of my head who repeatedly remind me that they're "better Jews than you are, Nev" and the way I see it: They're combined knowledge of judaism balances out the fact that I know nothing.


So as we wind down Hanukkah 2009, I say to myself: Let sleeping dogs lie. I'm a bad Jew, I'll continue to be selfish, and my non-Jew friends will continue to be superior about how they know more about being Jewish than I do.

Everyone's happy and everyone wins.


And now for this week's:


McDonald's is coming out with the Big Mac Snack Wrap.

My guess is: It isn't kosher.


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