For many Jews who return to Judaism, the road after ‘the return’ can be incredibly daunting. Questions that were probably never considered before like where can I eat, what should I read and even what TV shows should I watch (short answer – none) crop up daily, and with increasing complexities.
To help you along the way, FunnyAndJewish presents excerpts from A Practical Guide For Your Everyday Working Jo-seph.
Here you will find discussions designed to help you overcome some of the struggles faced by daily by “Returnees”. In the absence of a qualified rabbi, please feel free to take notes.
“A righteous man falls 7 times and rises. An evil man falls but once.” (Proverbs 24:16)
Question: What happens when that righteous man falls 8 or even 9 times? Worse still, what if he’s a perpetual klutz like me? Look, I’ll be the first to forgive myself: we all make mistakes. Mea culpa. The important thing to remember is not to allow your slips and falls to keep you down.
Who is this primer for?
Primarily for Jews who have tasted the ‘forbidden fruit’, yet have abandoned their old ways to draw closer to God. Men and women of all ages are coming back to Orthodox Judaism, replacing their previous secular belief system with one that is Torah-based.
However, if you’re reading this while eating something that the rabbis might call “questionable” (i.e. a double bacon and cheese whatever), don’t be discouraged because you’re not expected to do everything at once (that is called marriage).
Stop Labeling Me
The proper name for someone not raised Jewish Orthodox but who becomes observant is ‘Bal-Chuva’ or ba’al-teshuvah. The proper name for someone not born Jewish but who converts to Judaism is ‘N-u-t-s’ (more about “Welcoming Strangers” in a future article).
As an aside, the word ‘Bal-Chuva’ has a beautiful onomatopoeic quality to it. Whenever I hear someone say it, I reflexively answer “bless you”. To me that word sounds like a sneeze. ‘Bal-Chuva’. Go ahead and say it to yourself. Quietly or out loud. It’s best if there’s someone else in the room to play off of. If not, fine. I don’t care. Go ahead. Try it: “Bal-Chuva”, “Bless You.” I’ll wait.
Jewish Fine Dining = An Oxymoron
Eating kosher is a lot like being pregnant – either you are or aren’t. Similarly, the issue of whether a restaurant is kosher is also both simple and straightforward. Either it is or it isn’t. Look for a sign. Not from heaven, but in the window. That sign that says ‘Kosher’ is the first give-away. In spite of this, don’t be misled by restaurants advertising ‘Kosher Style’. Can anyone in his or her right mind tell me exactly what that means? Have you ever seen a bistro offering “Vegetarian-Style” or “Vegan-Style” or even “Halel-Style” food for that matter? No. I didn’t think so. And you won’t…unless of course, they’re run by Jews.
And while on the subject of food, Jews don’t “see” religious apparitions in restaurants. No Rabbi worth his weight in payos ever “experienced” anything Biblical while dining out, with the exception of the 40 years it took for his order to arrive. Not once have I ever heard anything remotely like: “The other day, I was in my favorite kosher deli when I saw the image of Moses in my knish parting the gravy ($1.50 extra). It just never happens.
I repeat, IT JUST NEVER HAPPENS!
Be vigilant my friends.
– End of Part 1 –
Click for Live Like an Orthodox Yid Part 2
Funny And Jewish is a Satirical Humour Website.