Frumgirl 1: The Question

It’s the question that comes up pretty often when dealing with people you do not plan on working with for any longer than a short a while. I’m sure everyone’s encountered it at one point or another.

Now, you need a minor accommodation. You might need your complimentary breakfast coffee in a paper cup instead of crockery. You might want to refrain from shaking someone of the opposite gender’s hand. You might just want to meet someone on a day other than Saturday. Do you:

a. Explain that you are an Orthodox Jew, explain the accommodation you need, why you need it, and end up spending fifteen minutes lecturing someone you will never meet again (even if you are in a rush)

b. Politely ask for the accommodation without providing and explanation, and endure the weird looks or slight annoyance of the person you wish accommodation from

c. Avoid the situation entirely (i.e. do not have complimentary breakfast coffee).

I tend towards a or c in New York, and b or c elsewhere, but I always feel odd or disappointed, no matter which option I choose.

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Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 6:25 PM  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I always do A when in the states. We are rarely in Jewish areas in the states, so I think the education is good for your average American. They’re usually interested anyway. My husband is more shy and will almost invariably do C. In Israel, if it actually comes up, B is the option, because if you live in Israel and you don’t know about this stuff, you’re willfully ignorant, and don’t deserve an explanation. And acting entitled actually gets you farther here…

  2. Our job in the world is to be God’s people and to spread his light – by explaning yourself – you are doing your job….

  3. It depends on the situtation, but I usually go with B or C. I don’t see any point in getting into a long, techical explanation that just seems really strange without having a philosophical discussion to go along with it, and it’s a lot to grasp in a 15 minute dialogue.
    Usually I just don’t take anything, and if somebody comments, I just say, “No thanks, I only eat kosher food.” It’s never been a big deal, though funnily enough, the one who ends up feeling uncomfortable or slightly embarrassed is usually the other person (not me). I guess they feel bad, as though you are being deprived or made to stand out as “different”–the former isn’t true, while the latter is (though that’s not because of the food, per say, it’s just a fact of life being frum!).

  4. Personally, I consider myself to be weird and proud of it.

  5. its also hard when you’re working WITH jews but dont hold by their kashrus level… and are pressed to explain why you’re not eating the staff lunch/birthday cake/etc…

  6. I usually do B or C when it’s short term, but would venture into a brief A for long-term partners. You’ll have to explain anyway, and half the time they’re dying to know. You wouldn’t believe how curious they are about kashrus. I’m working on a five-minute crash course for future use.


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