Monday, May 02, 2005

"Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here"

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I've taken one more day off work -- my children are off school, and I have to get our lives back in order...although one day doesn't really cut it for that.

I'm in no rush to eat flour-based products, bread, crackers, pasta, so I've slowly been changing over the kitchen and dining room between last night and today. But yes, within the next hour I will take my children for a pizza lunch -- matzoh pizza is just not the same for them.

My husband who'd transformed 3/4 of the kitchen into Pesach mode himself had done an excellent job and I see it more and more as I disassemble all he did. He'd transferred empty boxes and year-round pots, dishes and kitchen accoutrements to the garage and it was my job to bring them back into the house after filling up the labeled Passover boxes.

Wouldn't you know it -- when I was about to go out to the garage, it began to rain. Then it began to HAIL! Hey, didn't anyone tell Mother Nature that the Ten Plagues are finished with till next year; hail shouldn't have had the need to make a guest appearance, now that the holiday is over, now that it's MAY 2ND!

I think the hail just felt the need to have the last word. And I feel the need to top it: "DAYENU!"

Boy Vey! The Shiksa's Guide to Dating Jewish Men

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Simon & Schuster Books has this title coming out in June. And the idea of the book irks me...more than just a bit.

Yes, I have a great, and most offbeat sense of humor, and I usually do understand when things are said or done tongue-in-cheek, as most likely this book is. But I do not really want to see a book with this title, by this publisher on the shelves of my nearest bookstore. To me, it's a promotion of sorts, an invitation for non-Jewish women to date Jewish men because...of course, Jewish men supposedly have wonderful reputations, ie. "THEY MAKE GOOD HUSBANDS"!

Read this excerpt and make your own judgement call.

Chapter One: Why Choose the Chosen Ones

Oh, admit it: At some point in your adult life, you've wanted to snag a Hebrew honey. Or maybe you already have. Or maybe you're snuggled next to him right now, reading this sentence and wishing you'd thought of this book idea before I did.

In any case, who can blame you? There's a lot to love about a guy who makes your laughter his priority, who talks about your relationship more than you do, who's wildly intense inside the bedroom and out, who thinks nudging him up the corporate ladder is a sign of affection. Jewish men feed your mind and appetite, and they are the ultimate caretakers without a hint of machismo. They're also generous and thoughtful, thanks to a matriarchal culture that's taught them to appreciate women's strength, candor, humor, and intelligence. And because Jewish men value professional drive, your mom can finally tell neighbors that you're dating a doctor, lawyer, or entrepreneur. And she'll mean it this time.

Of course, dating a nice Jewish boy comes with its caveats -- most obvious, the whole Messiah thing. The good news is that if you're dating a Jew, he's likely either Reform or simply acculturated, and thus, open-minded about mixing it up a bit. (Unless conversion is your idea of a hot first-date topic, don't waste your time with Conservative and Orthodox observances.) Whether your love mensch is super religious is seldom the issue. I've found that interfaith coupling gets most sticky -- and believe me, this Presbyterian has dated enough Jews to make their ancestors shvitz in their graves -- when wondering how to navigate daily interactions: how to deal with his obsessive hand-wringing, what to expect from his sex drive, how to survive his mom's verbal hemophilia. Interfaith relationship snafus arise because Jewish cultural nuances are ingrained in his psyche and not in yours. So if you want to hang with a Jew, you need to identify with his faith and lifestyle.

So what's a Shiksa? Well, you. The word is simply Yiddish for a non-Jewish woman, though the term carries a long history of cultural weight that's far too academic and arguable for the attention span of dating-guide devotees (myself included). Suffice it to say that Shiksas are traditionally viewed as the attractive, mysterious, and forbidden other -- and not always in a flattering way. However, most of the young, Jewish studs I meet insist that the femme fatale rep is an antiquated ideal that's upheld more by their older parents and grandparents than by today's cooler Bens, Joshes, and Andrews. Thank heaven! When it comes to compatibility issues, your religion (or lack thereof) is but one part of your gorgeous profile -- and ranks right up there with charisma, looks, education, family, ethnicity, and bra size. Honestly, your cutie doesn't adore you because he wants to explore your hidden temptress or piss off his family. And if you suspect he does, dump the loser and hide his yarmulke. Because you, my dear, can do better.

Since you bought this book, I'm going to assume you have an elementary knowledge of the Jewish faith and its lingo (or at least a piqued interest). Beyond apologies for your beliefs or stereotypes about his, here's what you won't find in these pages: basic Judaic principles, long history lessons, Hebrew prayer translations, funeral downers, extreme holiday traditions like Purim or Simchas Torah, or three cheers for interfaith marriage. Boy Vey!: The Shiksa's Guide to Dating Jewish Men is simply that -- a fun dating guide written for outsiders, by an outsider. Not to mention, one who's proved to be a natural at the Jewish dating shtick (or so the exes and mothers say)...and sees no reason why you can't be too!

Copyright © 2005 by Kristina Grish

Good luck, Kristina Grish, with your book. Good luck, Simon & Schuster, with your book sales. But this gal ain't buyin' none of it!