Thursday, August 17, 2006

What I Need Is a Jew for Jesus

I grew up in South Dakota, a place with very little racial, ethnic or religious diversity. No one said cruel or hateful things about blacks or Mexicans because there weren't any, although woe to you if you happened to be a Native American. Most everyone I knew was Methodist, Lutheran or Baptist, with an occasional crazy Catholic thrown in to keep things interesting. ("What, you think that's actually the body of Christ?? Give me a break!") South Dakota has the nation's lowest per-capita smattering of Jews. And so, I never gave much thought to God's chosen people until it was time for the Sioux Valley News, our local rag, to run their annual story featuring the one local Jewish family. It was normally entitled something like "What the Rosenthals Did for Christmas: It's Called Chanukah!" How embarassing.

As one might imagine, this somewhat limits the dating pool. A girl had two choices: white boy, in stringy or beefy. Your pick. College allowed me to expand my horizons somewhat, namely to foreigners, whose open arms offered an exotic respite from the pink-cheeked farm boys I had been stuck with before. I sampled proper Brits, bawdy Australians, earthy Peruvians, muscular Koreans and by God I think there was even someone from Ghana thrown into the mix. He had a great smile.

It wasn't until after college, however, that I found what appears to be my true calling: the Jews.

After college, I went to work for a newspaper in Arkansas. Admittedly, this is not the first place you think of when you think "hotbed of Jews." Williamsburg it ain't. But my friend K. was attending medical school in near-enough New Orleans and had invited me down one weekend to a Halloween party. Across the room full of her classmates, I spotted a tall, dark-haired, green-eyed alpha male and a primordial lust unlike anything I had experienced in the past gripped me. It was as if my very DNA was calling out, "Mate with this person! Your blend of Scandanavian and Eastern European genes will meld in perfect unison to create disease-free offspring!"

Of course, it didn't hurt that he had washboard abs, was getting an M.D., was hung like a very lucky donkey and was one of the most enthusiastic, passionate lovers I might ever know. That said, so scant was my experience with Jews that it never even occurred to me that he might not be a familiar old Protestant -- until I saw a menorah in his bedroom. "Wait, are you JEWISH?" I screeched as we ripped each other's clothes off. "Um, my last name's KAUFMAN, silly. What did you think?"

By then, naturally, it was too late. I was intoxicated by this man in all his Jewish glory and nearly quit my job six months later to run away with him on a cross-country climbing trip. My depressing, measly financial situation prevented this insanity (at least mostly; I joined on part of the trip). Eventually, of course, we broke up, although we remain friendly.

The unfortunate outcome is that I think he started me off on a road to ruin that I fear very well might prevent me from ever being happy with a Gentile ever again.

Next came ANOTHER Jewish doctor (what can I say, ladies, it helps to have friends in med school). Despite our cultural and religious differences -- I had, at this point, converted from an off-the-nut Baptist religion to a more sensible and liberal Presbyterianism -- this one deigned me worthy of family introduction. Of course, I bungled this in a spectular fashion when, faced my first plate of gefilte fish at Passover seder, naively inquired, "A filter fish? You mean those things that suck the sides of aquariums?" Never in my life have I heard, more distinctly than in that moment, the soundtrack of crickets chirping. Nevertheless, A's Jewish mother seemed to take a real liking to me and even knitted me a scarf for Christmas. I thought I was in.

Eventually geopgraphic circumstances put the "kabosh," as they say, on that relationship, which was too bad because again, this boyfriend was something of a stallion in the bedroom and made me feel like the most desirable woman to ever walk the planet. Now I was REALLY hooked.

During my seven years in New York, I have continued to happily graze in the verdant Jewish garden -- a lawyer here, a writer there, a pair of Fulbright scholars for good measure. Who needs JDate? Different as they were, each one seemed to possess a commanding sexual presence and a generous endowment under his zipper. Each time I met someone who triggered an immediate hormonal flare-up, they were, nearly to a one, Jews.

Apparently my body has decided what it wants, and what it wants is a Jew.

Of course, dating Jews as an active Presbyterian (even one who, admittedly, has broken a few rules regarding sex before marriage) is not without its drawbacks. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, "I love dating non-Jewish girls, but of course, I have to marry someone from the tribe." (Gee, thanks.) OK, they never say "from the tribe," but you get my drift. This means every relationship I have with a Jew comes with a built-in expiration date that rears its ugly head just about as I would normally be meeting the folks or starting to leave hair products at the boyfriend-in-question's apartment.

Meanwhile, the Jews I've dated have all been atheists or agnostics, and have seemed despondently puzzled that I could be so irrational as to believe in God in the first place. It creates a problem.

I've decided that the natural answer to my dilemma is to find a Jew for Jesus. Yup, that's it! Brilliant! This way, I can satisfy my deeply felt attraction to Jews, and there won't be those pesky religious differences to wrestle with. Of course, his good Jewish mother probably won't be knitting me any scarves because she'll likely see me as a Bible beater abetting her son's descent into Christian lunacy.

But nevertheless, at this time, I see no better option. With a Jew for Jesus, I can have my challah and eat it, too.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Could have lived without the challah joke...oy gevalt.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous todd said...

yeah, so there's this new kosher vegan place opening up here in the fairfax district called soy vey.

just about as good as the salad tosser up on santa monica blvd.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Guy said...

what you need is a new post. seriously, get on that shit, woman.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Catholic Priest said...

As a catholic priest who believes that the Jews are God's chosen people, it pained me greatly when I was informed about the sexual abuse scandal brewing in the midst of such a great nation.

However, upon further investigation, my pain led to anger, as it became clear that God's chosen people were being led astray, and their belief system was being hijacked, by fake leaders and false prophets.

As part of the clergy, I have had several meetings with high ranking Jewish leaders and have come away greatly pleased and encouraged by the message being delivered and the high morals displayed.

However, at a recent inter-faith meeting among the leaders of several denominations, it became painfully obvious that the same Jewish leaders became different people when faced with a harsh reality. Instead of addressing the great issues of the day, they chose to display dubious traits of moral character and, to be blunt, a shocking lack of compassion for victims, and would refuse to speak about the issue of child sexual abuse with any moral clarity or honesty.

It was as if the to speak of sexual abuse would be to bow down to Jesus himself.

Now, we of the catholic faith have a tradition of ‘love thy neighbor’ (i.e. compassion) as being the first and foremost quality that we learned from Jesus and endeavor to incorporate such ideals into our daily lives.

I do not understand how the leaders of the Jewish People do not learn from their previous great prophets and leaders such a Abraham and Moses, renown for their great mercy, kindness, compassion, truth and honesty.

What has happened to the people of the Bible- God’s sole chosen nation?

3:18 PM  

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