Category Archives: Jewish

jewtings! :) Anything with a bitta’ Jewish in it!

The Jewish Dining Experience

So it’s Grandma’s Birthday… and she decides we’re going to that well known Restaurant in Edgware… I say McD’s, but she reminds me it shut years ago, and says “you know THAT kosher one down the bottom” No more to say, Anyone, who’s anyone, knows where I mean.

 

So off we go.  We’ve a table booked for 8pm, but we don’t turn up till twenty past. “just in case they aren’t ready for us.”

We walk in, and instantly everyone is looking at us. Up and down they stare, with their faces saying a mixture of:

  1. Do I know you?
  2. could you be a shidduch for my daughter/son/mother/brother/sister/dogs brother’s sisters son
  3. Am I sure I don’t know you
  4. I don’t know you, what are you doing in here meshugganeh.

Everyone looking, that is, Except the waiters and waitresses.

 

Eventually one of them throws my Grandmother a “YES” in a suitably abrupt fashion. Grandma explains we have a table for 5, and the waitress again says “YES”. After a few Yes’ we get dragged through the diners, all doing the faces above, to our table.

 

Turns out, of course, that Grandma knows not one table of people, BUT TWO.

 

The woman on the table next to us (who Grandma knows) Starts talking to us, and says “So, where are you living now?!” When Grandma tells her “Barnet” the woman answers with “Is it nice”.

 

What’s she expecting as a response?! “No, It’s horrible but I suffer in silence”. It’s not a holiday apartment it Costa del Otzenplotz, but Barnet, not even ten minutes down the road!

 

Anyway, we order drinks, three of us order Coke, so the waiter says “I’ll bring bottle it’s cheaper.” with a tone that makes you feel like he’s doing you a favour for it to be cheaper. Only in a Jewish Gaff.

 

Starters were more-or-less uneventful, with the odd funny comment coming from the table next to us, including a chat about the squirrels that got into Grandma’s shul. I might have mentioned The Ashkenazi (Grey) and the Sephadi (Red) Squirrels and how they made up a minyan….

 

THEN I decide to inspect the porcelain. Upon standing up, almost every head in the place shoots into position, and plays again through the faces mentioned above. THEY KNOW THEY DON’T KNOW ME!

 

Main course comes, I’ve ordered too much, and I’m draying through the beef burger wishing I’d gone shishlick when the other table we know comes over to say hello as they leave. The waiters and waitresses, take this as prime time:

Carefully they watch as we natter to the other people, and while our eyes are averted and our hands are talking, they try to remove anything surplus from the table, like a game of Jewish Jenga.

Waitress was caught however on the selection of 3 sauces, to which my brother declared “Oh, it’s fine, you might as well take them” despondently.

 

Thankfully mother manages to mouth to the waiter, who takes with subtly the fact that it’s Grandma’s birthday and he manages to bring her desert (sticky toffee pud, for those who care) out with a candle in it.

This prompts the table next to us to wish happy birthday, and even for one of them to ask “Well, who’s birthday is it?” while the candle was still burning in front of Grandma.

Eventually, Dad tells the bloke that he looks familiar. BAD MOVE. This initiates the mission of the Jews at dinner: Find a link. Links are suggested as follows:

  • What Shul do you belong too?
  • Who’s the Rabbi?
  • Who was the Rabbi Before that?
  • Before that?
  • Do you play tennis?
  • What do you do for a living? Taxi driver?
  • Do you know: Sid, Shlomo, Hymie / Cohen, Goldstein, Ubeplatz – they all drive taxi’s?

They should have settled on “did you have a bit removed on the 8th day”!

Eventually, they find a vague link through my brother’s girlfriend from Manchester, and the bloke next to us’s Son’s fiancée – I was happy for this palava to be over.

 

In the confusion however, intermingled with the Hymie’s and the Shlomo’s the table has been pretty much cleared, and it’s only by good judgement, that I held my glass at all times, and was still left with it.

 

All of a sudden, there is a dreadful “clacking” noise. Someone’s desert is ready and the chef is banging it on the table at the back for service. The waiter doesn’t hear, so my brother picks up the salt cellar, and starts clacking that. Then the pepper, then a glass, then all three. Eventually the waiter comes over and says to my brother “What” to which my brother (A trainee chef) replies “He wants you” (pointing to the chef) and the waiter replies “NO, What do YOU want?”

 

Eventually we get the bill, pay up, and head for the door. Prompting the scouting of heads again… This time it’s a splattering of:

  1. Not sure he’s a good shidduch
  2. Why haven’t they said hello, I’m sure I know them now they are leaving.
  3. Sid –  ask them where I know them from as they walk past.
  4. Why are they leaving now, they got here after me, was something wrong.
  5. Where’s my bloody dessert.

What a Kerfuffle… but I’m full up…. and you can’t say it wasn’t an experience.

I’m Jewish, and so are you.

For a long time I have struggled to come to terms with the way certain groups of Jews disassociate themselves with each-other, how they can be rude, abusive, and even refuse to talk to one another. Certain people will make judgements upon people because of the synagogue they belong to, what they observe, or even simply how we look.

A key word to my issues was written in Bold above. MEMBERS. Whether you are classed as United, Reform, or Don’t even belong to a Synagogue, YOU ARE ALL JEWISH. Yet some Jews won’t let you believe it.

History not so long ago outlined some of the less positive things about belonging to such a religion – but Hitler didn’t care what type of Jew you were; religious, non-religious half Jewish, a quarter Jewish – To the general outside world if you are Jewish, YOU ARE JEWISH, no matter what ‘internal denomination’ you are. To the average non-Jewish John Smith – Dan Cohen who goes to a Liberal Shul or a reform shul,  or a united shul or a federation shul, or any shul, or doesn’t go to shul, is as Jewish as The Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogue.

SO WHY CAN’T WE ALL PLAY HAPPY RELIGIOUS FAMILIES?!

The Jewish people love playing happy family – Friday night dinner is a prime example, and any other festival time also… but why can’t we all get along?

The United synagogue will say that the Reform and Liberal aren’t considered as synagogues, and that they basically aren’t Jewish. The Reform and Liberal (from personal experience) will be more inviting to the more religious, and say the things they do are old and not relevant to modern life so they have updated the Religious ways to be relevant – NOTE: I’m talking about a member of the shul, not the shul organisation officially!!

But how does this work in modern life? To explain to someone what it is to be Jewish, and ‘how religious you are’ is complicated. Take an example of my place of work. We discussed Religion and my religion came up – I belong to a Reform Shul, go as often as I can, ( I aim to try for once a month) I try to keep Kosher as much as possible (I don’t really keep milk and meat, but I WILL NOT eat non kosher meat…. but might allow haribo – confusing I KNOW! – I’ll blog about that another time) and I try to go to shul for some of the festivals during the year – purim, sukkot etc.

A colleague of mine belongs to a United Shul will Eat non kosher in the office, from what he said, doesn’t go to shul as much as me…. The fine details DO NOT MATTER. What matters is how you can explain this to the non-Jewish world and in short – YOU CAN’T.

Between the two of us we don’t care ‘How Jewish’ one or the other of us is – at festivals we wish each other Chag Sameach, wish each other a happy new year, and share little yiddishe jokes between us.  We are just two, not everyone is so happy to share.

I could bore anyone silly enough to keep reading this far for another few hundred, maybe thousand, words, but at nearly 560, I feel this is more than enough.

The long and short of it is – to the outside world a Jew is a Jew. No matter how religious you are or you feel. Internally we should embrace this, stick together and learn to at least tolerate each other. If G-d Forbid 1000 times, the 20th century repeats itself – whether we tolerate, talk and get on with eachother or not. Together would stand the religious and the not, and together we would fall.

All Change Please

Ok,

So it’s been a long while since I blogged.

You may notice there have been a few changes:

  • New website – http://www.stevenphillips.me.uk (It’s not very exciting!)
  • New name for les Blog – It’s no longer just IT stuff.
  • and I have contact lenses – but you probably can’t see that right now.

So I decided that just me drivveling on about IT and my apprenticeship was probably boring, so I shall now drivvel away on general life!

 

But first:

I have not (pretty much) Finished my apprenticeship WOO. Just a bit of work placed trash to get done, and then I am finished! WOO.

 

Life since my last post;

 

So, I’ve been to Poland and Amsterdam:

Poland:

  • 6 days
  • March of the living – A holocaust remembrance trip culminating in 11,000 Jewish people, marching between Auschwitz 1 and 2.

Another post will fill in Poland!

 

Amsterdam:

  • Business trip for the day
  • To drop off a parcel
  • I visited the synagogue and Jewish museum, and had a boat trip

A different post will do the gory details!

 

Otherwise, Life is currently very boring.

I think I’m going to make a start on my Poland post  – I’ve just watched Strictly Kosher and the Holocaust bit is making me think about my experiences.

Strictly Kosher itself- The heart is in the right place but they chose the eccentric of us, in order to make good TV, thus making us out like fools.

 

S.