If you live in New York City, or if you’ve ever paid a visit to the fair metro during a Jewish holiday, there’s a good chance you’ve witnessed this fairly common practice: an Orthodox Jewish man, or perhaps two or three, dressed in traditional garb, stands on a street corner, asking select passersby if they’re Jewish. More often than not, they are — New York, for whatever reason, attracts a high concentration of Jews all over the spectrum, from the unobserving reform to the extremely religious Hasidic.
Having lived, worked, and otherwise existed in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the past few years means I have been called on my heritage by these guys (“mitzvah campaigners,” to be proper) many, many times. I’m never surprised, because although I’m only half Jewish, my dad’s Russian genes are hella dominant — I have thick, dark hair, dark almond-shaped eyes, fair but not freckled skin, and a prominent nose. Y’all have seen me. These features, in conjunction, add up to what any Orthodox Jew on the corner of Bedford Avenue would call a safe bet to shake the lulav during Sukkot. (Sorry guys, I’m in a rush.) But I’ve seen them also make some pretty damn good calls on Jews that, well, don’t look as obviously Ashkenazi as I do. Keep reading »
Oh, good, just what Judaism needs: more fetishism and bizarre cultural misappropriations! Because that whole Holocaust thing wasn’t enough persecution. No, we need more. More, I say! And it must involve Jennifer Love Hewitt. I’m going to tell you the truth; I haven’t deigned to watch the trailer for “Jewtopia”. I’m just going to put it here and let you guys tell me what you think before I even consider it. Quoth Jezebel, “Ivan Sergei plays Christian O’Connell, a man who wants to marry a Jewish girl ‘because I never want to make another decision for as long as I live.’” My great-grandpa Abraham is rolling in his grave. Let me tell you, we did not leave Russia for this shit.
Love is in the air … love and Bible sermons. This next season of “19 Kids & Counting” will feature the courtship of daughter Jessa Duggar, 20, who is being pursued by her Dad- and Jesus-approved beau Ben Seewald for lifelong baby-making. The lovebirds met in church — where else? — and asked their parents for permission engage to monitored texting and phone calls about, People scandalously dishes, topics ranging from theology to Scripture. But don’t call what Jessa and Ben are doing “dating.” Dating, as Duggar patriarch Jim Bob explains, is when a couple pairs off alone and “that sometimes leads to a more physical relationship.” Jessa and Ben are formally “courting”: their love affair will blossom under the watchful eyes of both of their parents (and the 47 children they have between them). Courting, explained Jim Bob, “is getting to know each other in a group setting, both families spending time together and the couple setting goals together to determine if they are meant to marry.”
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Minnesota teacher Kristen Ostendorf is out of a job right now because she’s a lesbian. After 18 years at Totino-Grace High School, during which she kept her sexuality secret, the 43-year-old teacher came out last month in a workshop with her fellow teachers about how to make one’s mark in Catholic social justice. “I tried to figure out how I could encourage others to ‘make their mark’ if I was willing to be part of a community where I was required to hide and compromise and deny who I am,” she told the Minneapolis Post.
So, Ostendorf told her colleagues: “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.” Keep reading »