Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What Being A Jew Doesn't Mean To Me

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Ah, Judaism, that coat of many colors. We know some Jews who keep kosher with a vengeance; who daven in schul each weekend; who wear their yarmulke on the treadmill, while clubbing, and God knows where else. There's an old saying to the effect of "two Jews, three opinions," and that includes opinions on the topic of Jewishness itself.

As for us, we're more or less clear on what being Chosen means to us. But we're crystal on the subject of what it doesn't mean. Here is a short list:

What Being Jewish Does Not Mean To Simon & Sera

1. Giving up bacon
2. Avoiding light switches or driving on any given day
3. Fasting (bitch, please)
4. Dressing "modestly"
5. Dressing, period
6. Choking down kosher wine
7. Attending synagogue services, except on a basis so random and infrequent it puzzles the U.S. military's best codebreakers
8. Automatically taking Israel's side in all cocktail party debates
9. Avoiding sodomy
10. Strict adherence to the Ten Commandments, because what was #7 again, anyway?

There are more, but you get the idea.

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So, yeah, as Jews go, we couldn’t get more secular if we ate bacon cheeseburgers at Midnight Mass. But: being a secular Jew is nothing like being an Easter’n’Xmas Christian. We might not log many hours getting jiggy with the Torah, but we consider being Jewish a vital part of the way we process the world each day. We give a shit about being Jewish. We just don’t much care for the praying and the congregation and the dietary laws and the terrible, terrible Klezmer music. But:
  • we turn up NPR when they talk about Israel or Steven Spielberg
  • we eschew red-and-green wrapping paper in favor of blue-and-white
  • we cook a mean latke
  • we dig Philip Roth and Sandy Koufax and Ben Stiller
  • we have that general patented Jewish neurosis that’s been passed down since ‘round about Abraham, and
  • we also have some fresh new syndromes created specially for those of us born to Holocaust survivors. (FYI: Not a cheery bunch.)

More and more, we notice that we share a common language because we’re both Jews – and the fact that we’re both utterly half-assed Jews in the traditional sense only makes that language more specific. And it’s not just the two of us. It’s all of our Jewish friends. (Except the ones who are, like, “rediscovering the Torah” and shit. You know who you are -- we see that superior look on your faces, and we don’t buy it. You’re just as bored in schul as we are.) It might well be the better part of our generation. It could even be you.

So. Here we are, blogging about our peculiar perspective as 21st Century Jews living in the smoggy, glittering heart of Los Angeles. For the next... however long it takes, given the need for naps, the reality of day jobs, and our monumental lethargy, we will endeavor to explain What Being Jewish Means To Us. Which, for those of you too high to follow this, boils down to four words: Sticking It To Hitler.

Please stay tuned as we bring you our thoughts and advice on Sticking It To The Most Evil Guy Ever. (And don't worry, you'll like it. The first thing we're going to tell you to do is have more sex. How cool are we?) We're also planning to put to rest that nagging "Is there a God" question people can't seem to shut up about. And we might talk a little more about how hot we are. Definitely expect to see an in-depth review of the best film since Orson Welles threw that sled on the fire, They Saved Hitler's Brain. Also, we may do none of these things. We're underachievers, just so you know.
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Wow, making all those promises was tiring. Time for a disco nap.

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