I realize that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would probably disagree with me but, at the end of the day, there’s a lot to be said for marrying a Jew. I should know. Having thrown in my lot with Jonathan Adler some 12 years ago, I guess you could call me a total shaygitz (male shiksa). I’m Liz Taylor to his Eddie Fisher. Though I may not own the Krupp Diamond, I have accrued a whole treasure chest of intangible benefits.
My matzophilia started early. My mother, a brunette with a hooked nose, was convinced that our people—Protestants from Northern Ireland—were descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. She may well have been on to something: Betty Doonan’s inclination to “tart herself up” was only shared by the Jewish women in our little corner of England. Next to Betty Doonan and the farpootzt (dressed-up) local Jewesses, the neighborhood English ladies looked like real meiskeits (funny-looking people.)
As a working-class Belfast broad, Betty felt a strong empathy for Israelis. “They are like us,” she would say, after spitting delicately in her mascara cake. “People are always trying to blow them up, and when they try to defend themselves, its all their fault.”
My Jew-proximity increased dramatically when, at the age of 16, I decided I was an atheist. This transparent ruse was adopted in order to escape the daily tedium of morning chapel attendance. Those sermons could drive you totally meshuggeneh! My strategy resulted in me being shoved in an adjacent room with all the nice Jewish boys, some of whom were called Jeremy, but most of whom were also called Simon.
While the goyim (gentiles) were bleating their way through those self-flagellating Anglican hymns about always taking the steep and rugged pathway, etc., we Simons and Jeremys would be listening to Pink Floyd and kibitzing (talking/interrupting each other) about our next trip to Carnaby Street.
Having schlepped (dragged bags) in retail for my entire adult life, I am something of an expert on the benefits of life among Jews.
Jews, unlike other religions that shall remain nameless, can take the piss out of themselves.
Jews love to shop. While old-money WASP’s vaunt their cheapness in dowdy threadbare clothes, Jews adore hitting the stores! This not only provides me with a job and a raison d’être, it feeds the economy and makes the world a more pleasant place.
Jews are clever. When the Nobel Prizes are given out, there are no shortage of Steins and Baums. There’s no question that all those insane Jewish parental expectations produce results. During examination time, some of the Simons and Jeremys in my school were so nervous about disappointing Nathan and Mindy that they required vomit buckets next to their desks. It was a bissel farcockt (a bit crapped-up).
Jews are hospitable. Elie Tahari is a good example. Last Monday night, the fashion titan, who started life in an Israeli orphanage, flung open the doors of his pad—the former Rupert Murdoch spread in Soho—for a U.J.A. event honoring Glamour magazine’s editor in chief, Cindi Lieve. John Legend performed. The booze flowed. It’s hard to imagine some tight-fisted gentile putting on a similar spread.
When conspiracy theorists prattle on about Jews controlling the world’s media and finance, and accuse them being “a shadowy elite,” it always makes me chuckle. Being part of a shadowy elite sounds so fashion-y and glamorous and totally Karl Lagerfeld: Come to Bungalow 8, where the shadowy elite love to groove and mingle! I imagine a whole room of people wearing massive Jackie O shades, peeking out from behind matte-black fans.
A couple of criticisms: At the various gatherings of the mischpucheh (family), my mother-in-law Cynthia is always trying to get me to eat more. At first I thought she was responding to my gerbil-sized frame. Then I realized that she, like every Jewish mother, was hardwired to shove brisket down people’s throats. See you on Yom Kippur, mommellah (mother)!
As I look back on my longstanding Jew-adjacency, I find myself getting farklempt (all choked up) and experiencing a little tsuris (heartache). If my mother was so pro-Jew, why didn’t she go the whole hog and convert? Oy veh! Thanks to her, I missed out on the best part of being a Jew: having an elaborate, themed bar mitzvah.
When I think of the attention and the mountain of gifts I didn’t get, it makes me plotz (explode). My Jonny comforts me by telling me not to be such a noodnik (doofus), and that a bar mitzvah is a double-edged sword: The agony of writing those thank-you notes is still with him.
(Dear Mrs. Goldstein, Thank you for the Cross pen set. I really like it. Thanks again. Love, Jonathan.)