Frumgirl 4: Fender Bender

There are some things I can now take without batting an eyelash. Like the following exchange:

Greg: “You won’t eat that candy? There’s nothing unkosher in it.”

Me: “How do you know? They aren’t required to list things that go in trace amounts.”

Greg: “You really care about little things like that?”

Me: [jokingly] “Well I’m very Jewish.”

Greg: “What does that mean? You pick up pennies in the subway?”

Okay, note to self: use “religious” instead of “Jewish” in the future.

Then there was the time I was reading the book, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, during off time in the lounge. Naturally, it raised a few eyebrows. Jews + Pirates? Gotta be kidding. But Joey just looked at the cover and sniggered. “There must be good stuff in there about them fighting over coins,” he said.

“That’s mean,” I said.

“Yeah, well,” he replied.

Seriously. Why do I hang out with these people? Oh right – they’re helpful when I can’t figure out my homework.

Then there was the time Greg swore that Oreo cream is made of lard, and they fool the rabbis because they’re not there all the time. His point? I might as well eat non-kosher because I was eating it already. At first I argued. Then I remembered that there’s no point in arguing with conspiracy theorists. They tend to be off their nut.

So now I take those things in stride. But I was thrown off by the following little exchange:

Me: So what do you do for fun, besides watch the Simpsons and South Park?

Greg: Race cars.

Joey: Race cars? Like really race them?

Greg: Yep. Do you have a license? Well, not you Frumgirl, you don’t drive, but Joey?

Me: Hey, hey, wait a sec. I don’t drive?

Greg: You do?

Me: I’m not Amish. I drive. I even own a car.

A split second later my brain caught up with my mouth and I realized that you don’t have to be Amish to not drive; you could be Satmar. And the average irreligious Russian Jew (Greg) has had more of a run-in with chassidim than litvaks, leaving them with the impression that Jews are 500 years out of style, don’t speak English fluently, and abide by many more rules than we actually do. Indeed, I have been often told that I’m obviously a “liberal kind of Jew” because I’m not married, don’t obsess over Israel, and don’t shout “antisemitism” every time something goes wrong. It’s interesting to see what an outsider’s criteria of a “strict Jew” is.

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. *laughs at the Oreo rumor*

    As a good Southern girl who can taste lard in anything from pie crust to pound cake to collard greens, I can assure you and Mr. Greg that there is absolutely no lard in Oreo’s dare-I-call-it cream filling. No, ma’am, that is pure, cloying, high fructose corn syrup flavor.

    My family doesn’t use lard in our cooking at any time besides holidays because it’s really not remotely healthy, but it lends a certain savory flavor to whatever you’re cooking, and a tenderness to pie crusts that I don’t think you can get with butter. It really is distinctive, and I haven’t tasted it in Oreos.

    (Granted, I’ve never tried a Kosher Oreo, but lard isn’t particularly cheap anymore. It’s more expensive than butter where I live, and certainly more expensive than high fructose corn syrup. It would decrease the profit margin to put it in there, and call me a cynic, but I think that if you can count on major companies to do anything, it’s to maximize their profit margin!)

  2. That’s a very interesting perspective that the Russian Jew is more likely to have met a Chassid than a Litvak. Note: i don’t know if this is true but someone told me that Chassidim are considered a protected minority. Go figure.

  3. What’s a “protected minority”? It doesn’t appear on the ethnicity checklist.

    Most of the Russians I know bumped into chassidim when they came to America – it was chassidim who gave them their bris and Chumash. Also, Russians overlap chassidim in Borough Park and similar neighborhoods.

  4. I have no idea what an SBA loan is but google “reagan administration hasidic jews SBA loans” and something comes up.
    I actually thought Russians live in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach but I don’t actually live in Brooklyn.

  5. No new posts?

  6. oreo

  7. It’s strange to think that people have nothing better to do than make fun of another person because of their nationality or religion!

  8. once i have been married with non-jewish guy. and once he told me- *i love you even though you are jewish* can you guess what happened afterwards? right, devorce.

  9. Hmm.. Looks like I found another good blog too late. Crap.

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