Having a unique cultural, racial, ethnic or religious background is always a precious and indispensable aspect of one's identity, but being a minority among a vast majority can be frustrating at times, to say the least.
Growing up enthusiastic about and extremely proud of my Jewish identity, I've rarely been afraid opening up about my religion and the importance of my community. However, once you open up to those around you, you begin to notice how stealthily pervasive stereotypes are.
Although rarely meant out of malice and more-so an ignorant curiosity, us Jews get certain questions more than pretty often.
1. "Where are you going? Do you have a Jew convention this weekend?"
Yes, I probably do...
No, but seriously, we don't have them every. single. weekend.
2. "You go to... Jew camp?"
No, not that type of Jew camp. We've all heard the Holocaust jokes and no, they're not particularly funny, and no, you're not unique — we've heard them all.
3. "Is your mom/dad a lawyer/doctor/accountant?"
But yeah, my uncle is.
4. "Do you believe in God?"
Well, the Old Testament precedes the New Testament, so yes, God is a part of our religious beliefs. But no, you don't have to believe in God to be culturally Jewish.
5. "Can you speak Hebrew?"
I can read it fluently (without vowels!), but could I have a full-on conversation in the language?...Nope. Bar/bat Mitzvah education only goes so far.
6. "So, is everyone in your family, like, really smart?"
I mean, I'd like to think so.
7. "All Jews have a lot of money, right?"
Ah yes, wishful thinking.
8. "Is your mom super strict?"
The astounding accuracy of the Jewish mother stereotype never ceases to amaze me.
9. "Why didn't you invite me to your Bat Mitzvah? They look like so much fun!"
I didn't know you five years ago.
10. "So, that's why your nose is so big?"
No. I'm also Italian...
11. "You get to miss school for your holidays? Unfair!"
We also have to sit through 4-hour services and fast. You also get two and a half weeks off for Christmas and don't have to stress about legitimately unfair policies of making up absent work. Please refrain.
12. "Hahahaha, do you want to pick up that penny on the ground?"
Wow. You're so original.
And yeah, I did.
13. "How are you Jewish? You don't look like you are!"
You're right, sorry. Let me just consult the nearest copy of my Punnett square and show you how genetics work.
14. "So, do you know my friend? He's also Jewish!"
I mean...yeah. Chances are, I do...
15. "Do you have to go to temple all the time?"
Everyday, all day.
No. The answer is no...but I am there sometimes.
16. "Do you keep kosher?"
I'm eating bacon right now.
17. "Jews are awesome; why do so many people hate Jews?"
If I had a logical reason, I'd tell you. How am I supposed to answer this?
18. "Have you been to Israel? Have you heard about birthright?"
I have not yet been to Israel, and yes, I can assure you that I have heard about birthright and intend on going.