Friday, December 31, 2021

Jews Are Not a Monolith

Back in 2019, Delish shared a coffee-and-cream colors chart. At some point, it was used to display the various colors of Indigenous peoples as a way of saying, "Indigenous people are not a monolith."

Now, here I am, using this clever image to say, "Jews are not a monolith." 

coffee in different shades with the word Jew on each cup

When I converted on January 1, 2010, I claimed my place among the Jewish people. I acknowledged the Jewish neshama (soul) that I was born with and set it free to grow and expand. 

Interestingly, while I was living the life of a Torah-observant Jew prior to my conversion and for a long time after my conversion, people were always surprised by me. 

"No Jews in your family? Well, you pass so easily!" 

"You look so Jewish, though! Pale skin, dark hair ..." 

"Are you sure there are no Jews in your family tree? You look more Jewish than some Jews!"

And I got this from Jews and non-Jews alike ... all because the assumption that all Jews are light skinned with dark hair because that's the stereotype. And for the longest time, I had such pride in the fact that I could easily pass when so many other converts I knew couldn't. 

Why? I was never questioned who I was or what I believed or how I observed. The only hiccups came (and continue to come) when people start playing Jewish geography. Only then does my past as a mildly non-denominational Midwestern Christian trickle out. 

But the reality? Jews come in all colors. I may pass because of stereotypes of what a Jew looks like, but there is no one way a Jew should or can look. 

And that's the post. Shabbat Shalom!