I found this experience really strange and unsettling. I haven’t encountered anything similar to what Dan said he has experienced.
Housekeeping–when I approve new commenters not all show up on the blog. Godaddy’s on the case
Yesterday a young man came over. Jewish, like me, he’s lived in the Myrtle Beach area his entire life. The first time I met him he told me he was converting to Judaism because he’s engaged to a Jewish woman.
Yesterday he said: People never think I’m Jewish. When I tell them my family came over from Germany and Poland they don’t believe me.
(Like me he has a small nose and non-stereotypical looks.)
I said: I thought you were converting.
Oh, I tell people different stories. My grandfather came from Germany. My grandmother’s family has lived here forever and pretended to be Methodist.
The conversation seemed random in a weird way. He began telling me about all the anti-Semitism he has encountered throughout his life. I tried getting back to why he tells different stories but he seemed so eager to talk to somebody Jewish who didn’t know him I let him go on.
He’s a computer tech; a geek who does good work and charges me less. I couldn’t figure out why my router’s so good but somehow the signal never seems to reach Netflick. It’s been an ongoing problem despite me trying to negotiate with the TV and DVD player; a series of firmware updates and Dan having been here before.
It’s not fun to be watching a movie and lose it in the middle. The problem seemed to be almost random. It wasn’t of course, it wouldn’t accept my router password. Finally he figured out why as he continued to talk.
One customer asks everybody their religion before he lets them in his house. I said I was Jewish and he wouldn’t let me in. He said that he would never ever let a Jew cross his threshold though he didn’t say it in those words. Ever since then I’ve been saying different things to different people.
Doesn’t that confuse you? We all know a good liar sticks to one basic story.
Yes but I don’t want to really lie to somebody like you.
You didn’t need to lie to me at all. You saw the mezuzah on the door. You asked me about it.
I didn’t know if I could trust you then.
Trust me? What would I do to you?
Oh I know you wouldn’t do anything. It’s ingrained in me not to trust. They hate us here. You have no idea how much they hate us.
I still didn’t understand how telling me he was converting to Judaism because his fiancee Erin is Jewish was “better” than being born Jewish.
Dan went on and on telling me more stories about how much Christians hate Jews here. He had too many stories. He’s been called the “K” word more times than he could remember.
I know some Jews who belong the same temple he does and they love it here. They don’t find it anti-Semitic and their kids went through the school system.
My mother grew up in Greenpoint Brooklyn. It wasn’t hip then; it was a place where few Jews lived. She, her brother and sisters would have eggs, rocks and tomatoes thrown on them. They would be taunted. She chose to live in gilded Jewish ghettos as she never wanted her children to go through what she went through.
Maybe because I grew up in a world where Jews weren’t just accepted but ruled I’ve never thought being Jewish is anything to be ashamed of. I couldn’t understand what Dan and my parents understood; many people just don’t like Jews. I will never accept that.
I’m a Jew in the Bible Belt and if people don’t like that they can negotiate a price for my house. It won’t be cheap. Not because I’m greedy or anything that people stereotype Jews as–quite the opposite actually. I put a lot of time and money into my house. I plan on this being my home for quite a long time. I love it here. It’s different than anything I’ve ever experienced.
The experience with Dan left me unsettled. I went down to the beach. Not to walk or sit but just to watch the waves ebb and flow for a few minutes. I thought how random it was that a Jewish tech came to my house and told me stories that made me ill.