Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."


I confuse people

People constantly say Merry Christmas to me, or ask me what I am doing for Christmas, because they look at me and automatically think I am one of them. And while in my head I scream, I usually answer rather politely by saying Happy Holidays to them and simply stating that I do not observe Christmas. Now, I grew up knowing I did not have what most consider Jewish features, my sisters do not either, but I never found it annoying until recently. Ever since I left South Florida it seems I encounter more and more people who are just totally ignorant of Jewish people. In an area like the one I currently live in that is very diverse it baffles me to think that people would assume everyone else is just like them. I always say Happy Holidays unless I know without a doubt someone is Christian, and even then I sometimes still say Happy Holidays because I prefer the way it sounds compared to Merry Christmas. Not that any of this is to take away from Christmas I would just like people to be more open to the possibility that not everyone is like them.

Unfortunately, I do not have the faith in other people to make the changes in themselves. That leaves me with few options; 1. Continue being annoyed and explaining that I do not celebrate their holiday, 2. Start wearing a Kippa, or 3. Wear a very obvious Jewish Star. So, here I am trying to proclaim my Judaism, sort of similar to how we are supposed to make Menorah visible for all to see on Chanukah, which ends tonight actually. And then I realize an amazing difference between this generation and the ones before it. I am trying to overcome my non Jewish features so more people would know I am Jewish while in the past people would look at my features as blessing to hide their Jewish ancestry.

We still have so far to go but we have come very far. Sixty years ago my Grandma was using the very same features that I have to escape the ghetto and get food for her family. The light eyes, hair and skin, plus knowledge of more than just Yiddish made her the perfect candidate to go unnoticed. And so she used her features to hide her true nature, just as they hide mine, but I am not in a ghetto and although the world is not yet totally accepting, I have no reason to hide who I am. Even my mother has dealt with those thoughts, probably by extension of how she grew up and yet, my generation has been able to overcome those thoughts. Which, makes my complaints over the ignorance of the people I know sound a little trite I know, but is it so wrong to want more from people? I don’t think it is, I think the day we become content with the way things are is the day it all starts to go bad. That just means I have to keep explaining, keep sharing and continue to be accepting of others as hopefully I can get them to be accepting of me.


Blogger Asian Mistress said...

I only say Merry Christmas to people that I know celebrate it too...

But I can never spell Hanukkah correctly, so I usually just stick to Happy Holidays. :)

6:25 PM  

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