Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

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My ignorance is at work even when I'm not.

After work last night a few people decided to have a drink at one the staff writers' apartments. I thought this would be a good chance for me to mingle. My plan is to make nice and become liked before my cover is exposed. That way, people will just brush off my religious-disadvantage, rationalize and then accept me. It's like what I was talking about on Monday; I'll just fall into some Reformed Jewish sect, like Jews that don't have Jewish mothers. It will be the "Catholic Editor of a Jewish Magazine" Jewish sect.

All evil ploys aside, I'm not one to turn down a night of drinking and watching Dr. 90210 (my dirty little secret, by the way... I thoroughly enjoy chick shows). On the other hand, this show got me into a bit of Jewish-trivia trouble. In one of the many episodes we watched, Dr. Li and her husband held a briss for their newborn son. If, like me, you have/had no idea what a briss is, it is basically a Jewish circumcision party. A "mohel" (pronounced, I think, "moy-yol") is a Jewish ritual circumciser who comes in and cuts off the baby's foreskin while adult attendees have a wine celebration, followed by a celebratory meal. When I saw what was going on, I declared that, "Who has their friends over for wine and circumcision? These people are sick in the head." The blank stares that I've been known to attract, again entered the room on cue.

"You didn't have a briss?" One guy asked me, pointedly.

I almost let the cat out of the bag, stating that 'Hell no, I'm 100 percent Italian," but I bit my tongue just in time.

Another guy entered the conversation, saying that he still remembers his briss. Attention shifted to him, because how could anyone possibly remember that? He was born in Russia so he didn't have his foreskin tended to until he moved to the United States when he was six-years old. Evidently the religious restrictions in Soviet Russia were under such strict micro-management that even the whereabouts of boys' foreskin were accounted for.

The Russian's soapbox was limited though. Everyone looked back over at me. Fortunately, I had somewhat put the pieces together by this point.. Clearly a briss is a customary Jewish shindig with which I should be very familiar.

"I know it's traditional, but I've always had this rebellious inclination toward making my son's briss more of a private affair."

A few people nodded their heads and halfway agreed. I assume I made them think. And if so, hopefully it was not about my religion, my origin or my (un)kosher... well, you know.

As an aside, when I got home last night, I grabbed a box of Wheat Thins and sat down at my computer to do a little briss research. As I pulled up the definition on Wikipedia, I quickly lost my appetite. While I wasn't eating Vienna sausages or anything gastronomically nostalgic, I still couldn't stomach it. It made me wonder how anyone could top the night off with a celebratory meal? I'll just go ahead and stick with my story about rebellious inclinations and all that.

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