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Samantha

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PostSubject: Anti Semitism   Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:00 pm

Has anyone, as a convert or convert-to-be, personally experienced anti semitism?

I ask this because quite frequently I have heard the assumption that converts do not have to worry about becoming a target of antisemitism as we are not born Jews. This for me, is pretty inconceivable.

I have already overheard Jewish jokes among my peers, some of which have been extremely offensive. My way of dealing with this is to confront comments like these straight on, and someone who recently offended me apologised to me right off the map, but I am still astounded that these kind of comments are widely accepted here.

I'm continually dealing with a huge amount of anti Israel sentiment which is very prominent here in the UK. I've been accused of "sticking up for murderers". I've had name calling after someone spotted my Magen David around my neck while on the tube in London.

Yet none of this has once made me reconsider becoming Jewish. It's made me more aware of the problems we face, if anything.

Has anyone else directly experienced anti semitism?
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:38 pm

I have not. I've had people say all sorts of disgusting things to me on the internet but that would happen regardless of whether or not I am Jewish. I imagine these same people don't run their mouth in public but feel "safe" behind a computer.

I have never been around people who dislike Jews, as least not that they have said out loud. I don't hear antisemitic jokes or remarks and never have. I guess I have just been lucky?
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Rabbi-In-Training

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:11 am

People joke, but I see their joking as a coping mechanism. It is rare for many people to come into contact with Jews, let alone religiously motivated ones, let alone non-Jews who are motivated to become religiously observant Jews.

So I hear jokes often when people find out about my impending conversion/commitment to Judaism. But they don't offend me as I understand that it's a way of coping with something they're not familiar with. Also, I think the fact that I am black may have something to do with it. But I've actually noticed jokes in that vein come more from Jews than from non-Jews.
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James

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:48 am

I've come across harassment, but I think it's directed more at me leaving Christianity rather than converting to Judaism. I have several coworkers who seem to take my conversion as a personal attack against them and their religion and enjoy telling me how wrong I am.

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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:54 pm

I grew up hearing the occassional negative comment about Jews being tight-fisted, but that wasn't often because there weren't any Jews where I lived; it was just repeating gossip rather than real hatred directed at real Jewish people.

I have not had anything directed at me, although I've seen some ugly comments on news stories. Even news stories completely unrelated to anything Jewish can have really ugly, really incoherent Jew-bashing on it. I couldn't help myself on one and responded, "You must be an idiot if you think two Jews can agree on the color of the sky, much less a huge lot of us get together to agree on how to rule the world. If we ruled the world, we wouldn't be everyone's punching bag throughout history." But most of the time I just click the little button that says "Report abuse."
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:36 pm

It's so deeply ingrained. I've lost friends and acquaintances over my joining the Jewish people. Some made their antisemitism verbally clear. Others just disappeared from my life. Their loss.

I do wear my kippah all the time, so I put my Judaism out there. But even in downtown Chicago, in the past few months I've had a crazy man in a Starbucks yell at me over Israeli policy, and a person in a food court mutter, "F***ing Jew" as we passed each other.

Yet, you know what I get a lot more of? People coming up to me and asking me about Judaism, or about what my kippah means and why I wear it, or about the meaning of Hebrew words like mitzvah. (Odd but endearing fact: church-going African American men frequently ask me about my kippah and tell me how cool they think it is.)

The last time, in fact, I heard muttering was yesterday on the elevator at work. Walking off my elevator two Jewish woman whispered to each other: "He had a kippah on." "I saw." I assume they were Jewish because...how many non-Jews would know a yarmulke as a "kippah"?
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:14 pm

I think that's fantastic that people are more intrigued about your Judaism rather than insulted by it. I'm actually moving to Chicago next year for a job, so I'm intrigued about the general attitude towards Jews there. Would you say that Chicago is an ideal place for Jews to live?

Like you, I'm out and proud about my Judaism. I wear my Magen David outside of my clothes, because I am proud of my identity. I don't want to hide it nor feel as though I should have to. Maybe this does annoy people, but I certainly don't preach; I just don't take any great pains to hide my Jewish identity.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:07 pm

Samantha, I do miss the way that Judaism is part of the baseline normal condition of my New York City hometown. Yiddishkeit is absolutely not as thick on the ground in Chicago proper. The Jewish communities here are mostly in the far northern neighborhoods of the city and, mostly, in the northern suburbs.

That said, Chicago is a very tolerant place overall. The Jewish community is quieter and less in-your-face than New York's, but it's still a fairly large community (about 250,000 Jews in all of Chicagoland), some of the community's major institutions are in the middle of the Loop (the Spertus Institute, the JUF/Federation), and there are synagogues of every variety scattered across the city.

More than anything, Chicagoans tend to stay out of each other's business. I doubt you'll find it to be uncomfortable to be pointedly Jewish here. You just need to be aware than some people will find your Jewishness confusing, and be ready to engage in conversation where others will expect you to be a "Jewish informational ambassador." You certainly won't feel alone, though. It's easy to find and forge Jewish connections here.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:13 pm

mikedoyleblogger wrote:
It's so deeply ingrained. I've lost friends and acquaintances over my joining the Jewish people. Some made their antisemitism verbally clear. Others just disappeared from my life. Their loss.

I worried about that but it's not been an issue at all, thankfully. People just accept it and move on.

mikedoyleblogger wrote:
The last time, in fact, I heard muttering was yesterday on the elevator at work. Walking off my elevator two Jewish woman whispered to each other: "He had a kippah on." "I saw." I assume they were Jewish because...how many non-Jews would know a yarmulke as a "kippah"?

My husband always points out men in kippot to me. Like "Look honey, you're not the only Jew in this town!" Laughing
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:59 pm

Quote :
Yiddishkeit is absolutely not as thick on the ground in Chicago proper.

Razz Try living in a town of less than 500 a hour outside of Nashville, TN. I looked around at Yom Kippur and thought to myself, "Wow, this is 10 times more Jews in one place than I have ever seen in my entire life."

Although there is a tax accountant in my town by the name of Solomon that I'm interested in bageling.

(Bageling: to insert a random Jewish word or phrase into a coversation in order to determine a stranger's Jewishness or to identify yourself to a fellow Jew.)
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:04 pm

[quote="Mychal"]
Quote :
Although there is a tax accountant in my town by the name of Solomon that I'm interested in bageling.

I did that yesterday at Trader Joe's! I didn't know it had a name. I was buying groceries for last night's yom tov meal and for Shabbat dinner. The checker (Abigail, I think) asked if I was having a party. I thought for a few seconds and then figured what the heck, and said," It's for kiddush tonight and Shabbat dinner." She knew what I meant, which was very cool.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:31 pm

People around here just ask flat out. Very Happy
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:39 am

Michael, thanks for the info. I'm actually going to be living with a Jewish family while working there, so I'm so excited! I already get quizzed on the Judaism front by people in my community, so I'm not too fussed about that. Even born Jews ask me questions sometimes... I had one ask me what Tu Bishvat was... big facepalm moment there, but to be fair, he was purely cultural.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Anti Semitism   Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:17 pm

"Bageling" is courtesy of Rabbi Mordechai Becher. He illustrated it with a funny story about being in Harrod's in London, and he said this upperclass couple kept stealing glances at him. He swears up and down the gentleman was in a smoking jacket and silk cravat; he thought the man must be a duke or some such. And then the husband looks at his wife and says, in a very Oxford accent, "Oy, dear, would you look at these prices."

My other favorite term of his is "schmoozle." A group of lions is a pride. A group of crows is a murder. A group of Jews is a schmoozle.
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