Thursday, June 26, 2008

Belonging


This is a photo of me with my cousin Steve and his wife Hannah.

People often tell me, usually upon first meeting me, that I "look like I'm from New York." Maybe it's just because I wear glasses, don't dress like a surfer, and lack a deep golden brown tan, as so many Arizonans do. Or maybe it's because it's a polite way of saying that I look like a Jew. Either way, I never really agreed with that statement. The idea of New York generally makes me feel uncomfortable, hordes of harried, angry people shouting at each other under skyscrapers that blot out the sky. And I never liked the Jews I grew up with who came from that part of the country, either. Too many of them were spoiled, maladjusted twits, and their parents were little better.

This may seem silly to say, but I was genuinely relieved and surprised to learn that Israel isn't a giant clone of the Lower East Side. I felt much more of a kinship with the Israelis than I ever felt with the guys I went to Hebrew school with, and it's hard to explain just why. Many Israelis are just as rude and bigoted as their American counterparts, after all. I can instinctively understand why Steve decided to stay in Israel, even if I can't quite elucidate it.

1 comment:

bean said...

I am proud of the fact that the first thing I said to you was, "So, you're a Jew..."

I had a similar experience when I went to Krakow. It was good to know that Polish people and people from shitsville, USA (aka Swedeland, PA, where my Polish family is from) are not one and the same.