‘I pretended to be Jewish’

Why in the world would anyone want to be Jewish?

Why would anyone want to be part of the most hated people in the world, the people who are always blamed for everything?

I mean, yeah, we’re smart.

We stick together.

But the fact of the matter is, the world doesn’t love us.

I mean let’s be honest here….

I’m bringing the subject up because I was at an event, just hanging out, and I met two people that same day who told me they pretended to be Jewish.

The first conversation went like this.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” he said back.

“My name is Anat, what’s your name?”

“My name is, ‘XYZ.’ ”

(I won’t mention his real name.)

“I’m from New York. Where are you from?” He asked.

“Well, I’m originally from Israel,” I said.

He said, uncomfortably, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Now, while I had the urge to verbally attack him, and say something like, “What do you mean sorry to hear that? I am so damn proud to be Israeli,” I half-smiled, and decided to understand why he said such an awful thing.

“Well, why are you sorry I’m from Israel?” I asked, trying not to sound judgmental.

“I pretended to be Jewish for 24 years,” he said, looking around the room abashedly.

He basically told me that he fell in love with a Jewish woman, and in order to be with her he had to, “convert.”

“Ohh,” I said.  “Were people discriminatory against you?”

“No.” he said, “There were just too many rules.”

“Well,” I said, smiling, “in the name of all the Jewish people, I apologize for all the pain we have caused you.”

The funny thing was that, at that same event, there was someone else who told me he had faked being Jewish.

He told me, with pride, he got to go on Birthright and stay in hotels for free as well as get a free ticket to Israel, all while never being Jewish himself.

He also flat-out boasted that he was able to fool Jewish girls into thinking he was a Jew, so he could fool around with them.

He told me how many people in the group weren’t Jewish as well.

I asked, “Well, maybe they have a father or a grandparent who was Jewish?”

He said, “No, they were full-blown gentiles.”

They had bragged about the fact that they went to Catholic school.

“At least five of us had 0% Jewish blood,” as he put it.

After I spoke with those two people, I was shaken.

I thought to myself, “Wait a minute, so both of them wanted to be Jewish, and what they had in common was that they hoped to get something out of it.”

But where do we as Jews play a role in this?

For one, why are we allowing so many non-Jews to convert so easily?

(And I’m talking to you, rabbis!)

Why are we promoting the Kabbalah like it’s some kind of fancy trend?

Why are we allowing non-Jews to go on Birthright, which defeats the whole purpose of it?

Innocent Jews are donating millions of dollars to Birthright in hope to bring more Jews to the State of Israel.

I mean, obviously there are people who are making profits off of those who go on Birthright, which is probably why they don’t fully investigate those who show any interest.

As long as it’s making them money, nobody cares that much.

That’s just my hypothesis.

But, really, wasn’t the whole purpose of Birthright to bring Jews to Israel so that they, hopefully, stay and build a life?

I say that people need to start investigating who’s behind the Birthright Movement.

It’s absurd that this kid and others, who weren’t even Jewish, got to go simply because they said they were Jewish without any actual proof and they used Jewish girls sexually and emotionally.

As far as conversion is concerned, it’s become far too easy for just anyone to become a Jew.

Nowadays, so many celebrities, like Madonna or Britney Spears, are advertising their “Judaism,” like it’s some type of a clothing line.

To those rabbis out there who are just letting anyone be Jewish, whether it’s because they’re a famous person or because they don’t want to investigate it any further….you’re making a mistake.

How can we as Jewish people step up to stop this ridiculous nonsense?

Even if someone is the daughter of a president, doesn’t mean they’re Jewish.

We are converting them and then helping them hate us and use us.

I think that, as Jews, we need to be a little more united.

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. There, she experienced anti-Semitism in public schools. She moved to New York City when she was 20. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice 2 years ago, and in her free time enjoys writing poems.
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