Let us not beat around the bush here, it is very plain to see that when it comes to Jewish lifestyle and customs (be they cultural or religious), the debates are endless as to which are most vital to, and representative of, the Jew! Which most authentically represent the Jew is the question. Is it Shoibbus? Playing driedel on Chanukah? Getting pissed on Purim? Buying a token shwarma in Golders Green, and throwing half of it away as you remember the reason you stopped eating the fatty, greasy, dead-sea salty, meaty meal?
Of course correlating Jewish lifestyle with Jewish authenticity is neither logically necessary nor unnecessarily illogical (go on you work out the double negatives), but I shall now take the above premise to counter the claims of those who hold a rigidly defined, archetypal, and to my mind, misunderstood understanding of what is means to be authentically Jewish.
The points listed below describe common Jewish practices (though not exclusively Jewish) which I believe have maintained the most authentic form of Judaism through their antinominian http://www.thefreedictionary.com/antinomian actions, and that such actions are central to Judaism, and serve to maintain it today!
Number one: The Great Jewish Love Affair With Shellfish – what is a more common scene than seeing a hungry Jew wolf down a plate of moules frites? Why are Jews so expertly capable of squeezing just the right amount of mayonnaise onto their scampi? Why is it that there are always such great deals in the Waitrose, in Temple Fortune, on the “Frozen Scallops with Herby Garlic Butter”? The answer:….no not because shellfish form part of a healthy low-fat, low-carb, high-protein diet……but because Jews love their shellfish! And why is this when, to be honest, passing on an phlegmy oyster ain’t that of a big deal? The reason is because it reminds us that we are Jews……we are reminded of our Jewish dietary code of which we find rather delicious in that we enjoy the forbidden fruits and the subconscious thought process of, “hey what a yummy clam chowder lies before me, but there is the law that says I can’t eat you, I hear this law and am reminded that I am a Jew and happily enjoy my clam chowder and be thankful for it reminding me of my Jewishness, if it weren’t for you clam chowder, I may have forgotten altogether! I am affirming and recognizing my Judaism in my act of eating the clam chowder! Thank god for the clam chowder”. (Funnily enough this doesn’t apply to pork or ham to quite the same extent, though that could be to do with the memory of free ham sandwiches if attending a talk at the Christian Union at university? However there was always the JFS case, witnessed by the author of this piece, where someone brought in their own sandwiches from home, punishable by 70 lashes as only authorised kosher food was allowed on site, and of course, it happened to be a ham sandwich……..how Jewish, how the more connected we all felt at this blatant rebelliousness.)
Number two: The Jewess’s Revelation at the Benefits of the Foreskin – There is the necessary shock experience for the Jewess (and in some cases the male Jew) of the first exposure to the foreskin which, when growing up a in strictly snipped environment, is quite an eye-opener! This important coming of age realization and recognition of less need of upper arm muscle-use, or fear of repetitive strain injury, serves to remind us of the powerful, strong female Jewesses that through the ages have had to deal with the male Jew’s neurotic penis envy of the foreskined one’s penile super-sensitivity. Oh Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, we salute you!
Number Three: Creative Expressions and Outpourings of Satirical Comment, Criticism and Top of the Range Piss-Taking with regards to Establishment Predictability and Mundanity – From the Talmud, (or was it the mad Communist Great Uncle we all had, but never knew?), we learn that sophistry and satire are intrinsic to the Jewish neshama (soul). These essential, creative, dynamic skills are vital to her/his being and enable the constant, close scrutiny over the mass of rubbish produced in the name of establishment Jewry. This historically evident talent of the free-spirited, bi-curious Semite, flitting between the boundaries and living on the fringe of the secular world and yudenkite, boundless in temptation and secular concepts, provides the most important means for external criteria, reflection and democratic checks and balances of those who claim to speak in our name! As a diaspora people, our strengths lie in the immersion of the peoples and cultures by which we are surrounded. A creativity and synthesis results from this multiplicity of influences and perspectives! This is semi-secular Jewry! This is what produces the extreme wit and comedy, sophistry and the vantage of vulgar truths. This is what preserves the necessary and vital challenges, criticisms and demands for justification, of much of the internal rubbish spouted in the name of establishment Jewry!