Thursday, November 13, 2008

jesus is magic

As the token orthodox Jew at work, I get asked a lot of questions. Questions like: Why don't I wear pants? Why do I have to leave early on Fridays? What’s the whole deal with kosher?

One guy asked me about "that holiday where you guys don't eat eggs". I soon figured out he was talking about Pesach. I guess he got his grocery products mixed up.

One girl exclaimed that she just found out that "the Torah is the same thing as the Five Books of Moses!" I was actually pretty impressed that she knew what the Torah is.

That same girl said this Rabbi came to her church one Sunday. I asked what he spoke about. "Well, you know, Jesus and the divine spirit". I'm pretty sure he wasn't a YU Smicha grad.

Another one of my coworkers is pretty catholic - she goes to church every week and even teaches Sunday school.

Last spring, she wanted her students to know that jesus was Jewish so she was planning an authentic Passover Seder and had a whole bunch more questions for me about it. I directed her to which is her new favorite site. I also gave her my secret recipe for Charoset, which she said was amazing.

(Side note - it's always weird to me when non-tribe members eat Jewish food - I don’t know if I would actually want to eat gefilte fish if I wasn’t brought up on it!).

Then one day, the catholic coworker brought in a pamphlet for me. She said it was for a community Seder, and thought I might be interested in going.

I took one look at the pamphlet. The words "Jews for jesus" sprang out at me.

I think I must have had a look of horror and a tone of disgust as I said those words out loud.

And then it hit me - this woman actually believes that jesus is magic.

And here I am, basically suggesting that I think her religion is baloney. Which I do. But I don’t like to be mean about it. Or hurt anyone’s feelings. Everyone has a right to believe in magic if they so choose.

After I said that, all I could think was “oh, sh*t, foot in mouth” and endured a brief awkward moment of silence.

Then she said, “you know about them?”. To which I responded, “ya – it’s just that they’re not really well-liked in the Jewish community.” Awkward silence part II.

“And…. my parents kind of like it when I’m home for the holidays”.

Nice save? I think?

So what was I supposed to say? I’m pretty sure she knows that we end where the new testament begins. She once asked me if Moses was our version of their boy.

And then there was that time when she said that having pre-marital sex with her boyfriend was ok because jesus loves her and she loves her boyfriend and so jesus loves love. I don’t know how telling you that was relevant to the post, but I think it’s funny.

So getting back to my story – how do I tell someone I’m not really into their religion? That although they love to learn about my religion, I’m not too interested in theirs?

The girl who had the ‘rabbi’ give a sermon at her church sits right near me, and we often share book and music likes. Today I put on the MM playlist, and then after making her listen to 30 minutes of Hebrew rap, I asked her what she wanted to listen to. She told me about some artist that she thought was ‘soooo good-looking’ and that I’ve never heard of. Turns out he’s got buck-teeth and all his songs have to do with x-mas.

I felt bad turning the music off – so gave some fake excuse about someone complaining about how loud it was. (acting skills come in handy sometimes)

I felt bad about not liking her music taste – and about lying.

But what’s a Jewish girl living in a goyish world supposed to do?


Squeak said...

Top 3 things never to discuss at work:

1. Religion: There is no advantage to having conversations with colleagues about religion. basically every religion thinks all the others are crazy. No need to stir that up with someone that you spend 10 hours with every day.

2. Politics: During the election I found out that some people in my office who I thought were rational human beings are actually INSANE people. I work in a mostly frum office, so people feel free to express their real feelings without any worries of repercussions. Over the past few weeks I've heard a few people say "You're voting for the N*****? Are you crazy?"

3. Salary: If you make more, the person you're talking to will inevitably feel bad (even if you have a totally different job than that person). And vice versa.

As far as taste in music, people usually feel very strongly about their tastes, but I think it's easier for people to agree to disagree when it comes to music.

ShomerShabbosSoprano said...

Haha, I feel ya. I'm sure your co-worker had her heart in the right place (otherwise, she probably wouldn't bother) but thats always a tricky situation.

I'm friendly with some J4Jer's that I met in college (it made for some interesting lunchtime debates) and one day we were talking about hobbies. They're all really big into swingdancing, something I used to be into before I frummed out. And that resulted in this quote:

"You know...if you came to OUR shul, you can go swing dancing any time you want to".

Jesus: Magical Dance Party Incentive.

Frum Librarian said...

I have found people are pretty respectful when it comes to talking about religion. I once had a non Jewish coworker who loved to ask me questions. She even sued to buy me stuff from the vending machine, proudly showing me how she had found the o-u symbol. That's in NY, though. In other places, things might be a little more awkward

Anonymous said...

Frum Librarian write: She even sued to buy me stuff from the vending machine

Lol, thats commitment.

I've been in the same situations, with both Christians and Muslims, though J4J never entered the equation.

Maidel said...

but those 3 things often make the most interesting convos!