Last night on the eve of my 2nd “Jewnniversary,” I attended a house party in Manhattan.
Kicked back in a back room with a glass of white wine in one hand and lit up rolled greenery in the other – the host jovially announced he recognized who I was – “the girl with the super goy name” whom he had noticed mentioned on various Facebook posts. “Obviously, I wasn’t a Jew” like the most of the other party- goers. He was not the first person to call me out but he had unwittingly pressed the atomic bomb of all my buttons. I looked at my BFF sitting across from me and told her to ready herself for monologue #1 on “Jewish names.”In retrospect some snide retort would have been best.
“Hmmmm is your name from the New Testament?”
“Jesus was a Jew and my parents were fans.”
…alas I was not witty…I was just bitter that tribal acceptance does not come easy…if ever. I don’t remember what I sputtered out but soon after I sang my feelings out via karaoke song “Killing Me Softly” in his living room.
The thing is, I feel Jewish which took a lot of time and effort. Living in Israel, learning a smattering of Hebrew, prayer, attending social events, pro-Israel advocacy work, going to shul, fellowships, celebrating holidays…like our future president H. Clinton said in the 90’s – “it takes a village.” In the moments where somebody questions my Jewishness…it falls apart for a minute.
So on my 2nd anniversary… I am recommitting myself to strengthening my Judaism to the degree that it is unshakable. My name is Chriss (as in Jesus) and I’m a Jew. Here me roar (lol).