Are Jews Cheap and Bad Athletes?
By the way, the whole ‘Jews are cheap’ thing is wrong. We are just not stupid. Cheap? To my non-Jewish friends who also shop, we are normal. Do non-Jews go shopping looking for full price? ‘Where is the suggested retail rack? Marked up $50?’ Who wants to overpay? Is it that important to you to not be Jewish? I was just visiting America and I got tipped for holding a door at Marshall’s, by a random guy. I love America and how they tip for acting like a human being. He then followed the tip with the statement, ‘I want to get ripped off…just letting you know I’m not Jewish.’
In Israel, I can go shopping and people don’t say they can’t stand me because I am Jewish. They say, ‘I cannot stand him because he always likes to bargain and get deals…He is an annoying customer and very cheap.’ I appreciate that people in Israel judge me for who I am; not something an ancestor said about me, for reasons of wanting my Jewish money. The Israeli shopkeepers hate every customer. At least they are not anti-Semites.
I can’t go to Marshall’s with a kippah. I feel like I am being watched; as if my business interaction will affect the way these people view my nation. If you are European then H&M- whatever visualization you need for this phenomenon to make sense to you. Just calm down and personalize it yourself. When I am shopping, I know everybody is watching me, trying to find out where the sales are. As if I can smell them, because I am a pure breed Jew. The loudspeaker comes on, ‘Jew heading to the clearance rack. Jews like deals. Isle 5, if you want to see a Jew. All Jews pick their nose…he has a lot of money, but he will not spend it…you can see the Jew tomorrow rolling back at Walmart- shops there because Jews are cheap…Catch this, Jews do not like getting ripped off.’ Now, thanks to me, they think all Jews have no style.
I’ve got to be honest, when I see that 60% off sign at Kohl’s, it makes me feel fuzzy
Non-Jews can get sales, but they chose not to. And why would you not pick up a penny or quarter you see on the street? As a Jew, I feel it is important to keep the public areas we all share, clean. But I can’t pick it up, because they will say, ‘Jews are cheap.’ No, we like a clean society. And ‘they’ here means all the people who like to throw quarters to see if I will pick it up. And yes, for a Jew to bend is a big deal.
Cheap? I ask again. I do the same as everybody else in the world. When I want to go shopping, I go to America. $1,200 for an IPad. I am not going to pay for the IPad’s seat on the plane. I will fly to the USA and still save money on my electronics. When I get there, I will also pick up a shirt that fits, and some Israeli Osem snacks. And just as everybody else in the world, when I am itemizing for customs, I will claim none of it. ‘I did not travel for business. I did not buy anything when I was abroad, nor did anybody give me anything. I am traveling with absolutely nothing- I went to America and came back without any bags…even the ones I am carrying.’ And I will not pay taxes unless I have to; that is how I was able to purchase the IPad. That is not cheap, that is lying.
It was always the non-Jews vs. the Jews. In basketball, we had to win our games in the Christian Youth Organization basketball league. Winning proved which religion was right. We had to win to show them that Jesus was a Jew, and wrong. We didn’t represent the Jewish side of the argument very well. Even though we lost a lot, we thought we were tough. At least we thought so, till we saw the Christian channel and somebody bench-pressing 600lbs with the help of the Almighty. Moms would show up to the basketball games in hate. They didn’t support us, they didn’t like basketball, they just hated the other teams. They would chant, ‘Beat the Goyim, Beat the Goyim.’ One gung-ho fan would shout, ‘The Crusades!!!’ I was just playing basketball and I don’t think that the Catholic day school kids served as crusaders. The crusades lady was crazy. She wasn’t even a mom, or Jewish. She was just an angry lady.
Traveling was hard as a kid. I always had to put on my hat. We were supposed to be proud of being Jewish when other people weren’t around and on Chanukah in our home. But we weren’t supposed to tell anybody, just in case they wanted to kill us picking up a paper at Seven Eleven. We wanted to blend in, so we would put on the hat. The hat turned us into a non-Jewish super hero. With the hat, all the sudden, go into McDonalds for a Coke. Non-Jews we were for that split second of shopping, and then right after we complained about the price and got the deal- Kabam, Kippah right back on, like magic. I grew up with Jewish pride, but on the highway we were like Marannos (if this makes no sense to you, then use the term Conversos to make yourself feel even less educated). We traveled, that Siddur was also a novel, a prayer book and a novel. The kosher symbol was a map of a State. The beard was because we are bikers in a minivan. There were people on the highway and there were no courts for us to be able to stick up for ourselves. The highway is a scary place.
My parents cared about me, and did not want to put me in harm’s way. We were always worried about the anti-Semites. They were usually little kids who would jump ahead of me on line at the Slurpee machines. Many of them were dangerous. Until you pass puberty, 35 in my suburban community, it can be dangerous to go around with a kippah in some areas- any areas outside of New York City.
We had to be tough. Wearing the hat was something we would do to be normal, so that we wouldn’t have to fight. We dealt with so much on the way to shule, with people screaming ‘Jewboy.’ Sometimes you just wanted to be a person. I remember my dad prepping us for snack with ‘We are going for ice cream, not a fight, put on your hat.’
My dad cares about his people and sometimes he would fight back, with words. We weren’t bench pressing 600lbs, but with the help of the Almighty, we could curse you. I remember my dad saying back to the beeper guys, ‘One day, you are going to be working for my son.’ I am guessing that his fight didn’t help lessen anti-Semetism. I think those words might be the reason we still have anti-Semitism today. I respected my dad and I would listen to my dad and put on a hat. I didn’t want those anti-Semites working for me anyways.
Anytime we would go out, my dad would say, ‘David, put on your hat.’ We would go to a movie, ‘put on your hat.’ The idea was that if you put on the hat, they don’t know you are Jewish. You are like an undercover Jew. You can go to a disco and nobody would know; they would just think ‘that guy doesn’t know how to dance. ‘At a baseball game, we always fit in real well.
On the highway, that was where the real danger was. You better have the hat. You cut the wrong person off, and all the sudden, ‘The Jews run the news, own the banks, and cut people off on Interstate Route 90.’ If you are driving under the speed limit, ‘Jews hold up traffic too…that is why Miami is so congested with traffic…why not? they have all the money… that 1989 Toyota Minivan is probably souped up.’ Vacationing with the hat was awkward sometimes. As a religious Jewish family trying to hide it could get a little weird. A little boy screaming, ‘Ima, vus smachte,’ comes off as different than your average English sentence. In motels, my dad would be with his beard and payis (side curls of religious people). They can figure it out. He’s there with tzitzit flying out, a bekisha and a hat, in the pool. I am sure some bikers are thinking, ‘There is ZZ Top.’ Hells Angels made us sing ‘He’s got curls. He knows how to use them.’
We couldn’t even pray in public. We would have to hide that we are doing prayers. Marannos- We would have to get out and go to the phone booth. We would be in there for 10 minutes. The whole time, the phone is still on the hook. We didn’t want to ruin the concentration (the kavana/proper intent). Gd probably doesn’t pick up when you call collect. I would open the phonebook to make it seem like I had a reason to be inside. People would knock on the phone booth screaming at me, ‘You can change in the bathroom.’ Just to look half way normal, I would sometimes pull of my shirt and pants, so that people would see my Superman pajamas. With a hat and Superman pajamas, coming out of a phone booth in the middle of a family vacation, I was normal. I was your average American kid. We were able to pray and to not be noticed as Jews. We were a normal American family; non-communicative and dysfunctional, with an awkward child.
There are still phone booths?! It is 2012, everybody has a cellphone. Why are there phone booths on the highways, you ask? So that Jews can pray. Another question: why are there McDonalds on the highways? So that Jews can go to the bathroom.
That is something I respect about Muslims. You go anywhere and they are praying, down on the floor. In public. It is probably because they are not worried about anti-Semites. They are also into decorating. You see them on the side of the road, next to a phone booth, laying down carpet, ‘This grass here is not clean enough for me.’ They set up shop everywhere, and then they blame the Jews for settling the land of Israel.
In Israel, it is nice to be a Jew; you can pray anywhere. You don’t even need a phone booth. And if you think you look like an idiot, there is somebody who looks the same way, passing you on the highway, with no hat. He is also trying to figure out why he cannot get Israeli radio on Israel’s highway. On the highway, sometimes, you don’t know if the guy is praying or peeing. But you can do both in Israel. In America, either way, people are screaming at you.
At least in Israel it is a Jew saying I am cheap, and thus I feel comfortable going around with my kippah. And on the highway, it is a Jewish anti-Semite beeping. It is different though. They don’t beep and scream out ‘Jewboy,’ at me. In Israel they beep and scream ‘Shabbat Shalom.’ Yes anti-Semites exist in Israel. And that is nice, cause I can still feel like I am in America. I scream back at them, ‘One day, I am going to be working for you.’ I know my dad would be proud.
In Israel, people don’t look at you like you are crazy if you are wearing a kippah, as long as you stay away from Tel Aviv.