My uncle is not Jewish. Contrary to my belief as a small child at the spry age of maybe 15 (I don’t remember), I learned that Joe the Jew was just a jocoserious joke. What?! Why would you call Uncle Joe a Jew if he was actually in fact not a Jew? The point is, my fam had me fooled! For whatever reason, I thought that despite the fact the the other 7 siblings in my moms family celebrated Christmas, Uncle Joe was the only one in the family of Jewish faith, even though I had never heard of him celebrating Hanukkah. In my weak defense, I am very gullible. I have no clue what sparked my interest in Judaism, but maybe my curly haired uncle had something to do with it.
When I was home for Thanksgiving break, I accidentally left my rain coat in Connecticut. With the unpredictable Louisville weather, I texted my mom and she said she would have it in the mail right away. What a nice lady to get it to me so quickly, I thought. When it arrived in a massive, decently-heavy box, I could only imagine what else she had packed in there. After pulling out the jacket, I laughed as I saw this card sitting on top.
Oh mom and her jokes. After reading, I noticed that there were little gifts that she labeled “open first”, “open second” and “open third” wrapped in Star of David paper. So I proceeded through the little packages, wondering what she could have possibly put in here that would be so important that it had to be sent to me before I returned home for Christmas break. This is what I found:
I opened in the instructed order, a menorah, a box of Hanukkah candles, and an informative book titled, The Everything Judaism Book. This sparked an uncontrollable bought of laughter. My mom just knows me so well. Maybe this will be my first step in the conversion process, which apparently takes quite some time. In all reality though, ain’t nobody got time for that! Needless to say, I am beyond excited for my roommates and I to have our own mini Hanukkah celebration, which is quickly approaching. It’s only one week away!
I have not read the entirety of my new book yet, but here are five fun facts this Gentile has learned while skimming through it this morning:
- Hebrew is one of the oldest languages. It dates back as far as 4,000 B.C.E.; WOW. It is read left to right, and oftentimes written without vowel signs. This is probably one of the Jewish things I will not be learning.
- Traditionally, it is forbidden for a Jewish person to marry a non-Jew. Darn. In America today, the intermarriage rate is approximately 50%. Only a quarter of children born into these families are raised Jewish, which is leading to a decline in Judaism in America. Double darn.
- An example of a classic Jewish food item is a bagel! This is awesome because I love bagels.
- Hasidism is the spiritual approach to the Jewish faith. An important aspect of this area of Judaism is kavana, meaning “pure intention”. How nice.
- I didn’t learn this in the book, but rather through my own experiences. Mac Miller, Hoodie Allen, Drake, George Watsky, and Cal Shapiro of Timeflies are all Jewish rappers. Asher Roth has a Jewish grandfather, but does not consider himself Jewish.
On that note, the song of the post today is a little gem from my favorite Jewish rapper: Hoodie Allen. Ironically, I am seeing him on the first day of Hanukkah, December 8th. In the mean time, Kol Tuv!