What’s in a W.A.S.P? I Mean, a Name?
The other night, my husband and I went to dinner with three other couples. (If you must know, this was the night I got drunk on fish.) It was a Kosher restaurant, so most men in the place wore yarmulkes or hats and there was definitely very little to no cleavage or inner thigh flashes going on. I eat only Kosher food but I still felt like a stranger in a strange world. I had a strappy dress on that night, and even though I was getting overheated at various times of the night, I kept my jean jacket on at all times.
Luckily, I was in good company.
All eight of us were longtime students of The Kabbalah Centre so we know about the spiritual significance of eating Kosher & we all tend to eat that way (some of us more strictly than others). We are not, however, your typical Kosher restaurant patrons. Other than my Israeli husband, Betsy and I were the only Jews at our table. The rest were – in a word – WASPs.
Okay, except for one whose mom is Colombian/Nigerian, but she’s come a long way and could easily pass. Plus she’s married to Hugo Schwyzer, whose nickname may as well be Biff, if you know what I mean.
The WASPs immediately determined that we should all sit down in “WASP tradition” – man-woman-man-woman with no couples sitting next to each other. As we all took our seats, my husband asked, “What style seating did you say this was?”
We realized at that point that my husband was really the only authentic Jew at the table, since I grew up surrounded by WASPs (friends and step-parents) and Betsy’s friends were mostly WASPs too, plus she’s married to Charlie from Massachusetts whose name would probably have been Miffy or Bunny or Kitty if he had been a born a girl. Betsy even drinks like a WASP, whereas anyone who knows me knows I’ll take food over alcohol any time, thereby failing the first and easiest test of WASPiness.
When my mom realized that I was keeping Shabbat and eating Kosher and doing all the Jewish holidays and going by a new Hebrew name, she was understandably confused – I come from a long line of intellectual, socially liberal, non-religious Jews, not to mention two Jewish parents who divorced and re-married non-Jews.
I don’t fit in with my family, I don’t fit into the regular yarmulke-wearing Kosher Jewy crowd, and I’m not a WASP by any standards…
So I’ve decided… I’m making up a new word. Finally, I can be an insider!
How’s this: YISKBAIJLU (Yes, I Study Kabbalah, But Actually, I’m Just Like U!)
Hmmmm, this may need some work. Any thought?
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)