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    Tuesday, October 10, 2006
    Answers To Come ...
    ... but for now, a question from me.

    Do I look Jewish?

    Over the past week or so, I've been asked "Excuse me, are you Jewish?" somewhere around a dozen times. The new neighborhood I live in is heavily Jewish. I live half a block away from a temple that caters, it seems, to Hasidic Jews. Great! One of the things I love about New York is the racial, religious, and cultural diversity. But it's led me to now having questions that I need to pose to my readers.

    1. Why am I getting asked this? I mean, I am sure they are just asking anyone who walks by, but what if I WAS Jewish? What, exactly, are they trying to do?
    2. Is this at all related to the recent Jewish holiday? Or am I only noticing this behavior now because of the neighborhood I live in?

    And finally, and only somewhat related ...

    3. I saw two women on the subway today, who did not seem to know each other at all, occasionally switching positions. One had a seat, the other was standing, and the only thing that seemed to connect them was that each was reading very quietly from what I assume was the Torah. Are there certain passages you need to stand for? That was the impression I got, but I'm just curious.

    And I thought I had learned so much from Esther. Seems I've got a long way to go.

    Don't worry, my answers to the Q&A will be up tonight. So for those of you who haven't asked me anything, you've still got a chance.


    posted by FINY @ Tuesday, October 10, 2006  
    • At 10/10/2006, Blogger Esther said…

      Here are your answers, grasshopper:

      1+2. The holiday going on now, Sukkot, has a custom of saying a blessing and then shaking around a palm branch with myrtle leaves and willow branches attached, and a citron. They're asking because they want you to get the "good deed" of saying the blessing. Before the holiday started they stopped people asking if they wanted to purchase them.

      3. There are certain prayers said sitting and some said standing (one portion where you're not supposed to move your feet at all). They were saying the morning prayer service from a prayer book and were alternating sitting and standing depending on what portion of the service they were up to.

    • At 10/10/2006, Blogger Michael Leggett said…

      Irish & Italian, FiNY, is what I think.

    • At 10/10/2006, Blogger Esther said…

      If it makes you feel better, a woman in my office asked me about this too. They stopped her in Forest Hills. She's Italian.

    • At 10/11/2006, Blogger FINY said…

      I never actually felt BAD about it, I was just super curious about what was going on. I got asked again today on the subway incidentally.

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    Name: FINY
    Home: New York, New York, United States
    About Me: Just a New England girl trying to make it in NYC. Email me at: soxfaninnyc [at] gmail [dot] com
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