Just Jewish

 Many years ago, a former colleague convinced me to do what I swore I never would— it wasn’t skydiving, it wasn’t singing karaoke, and it wasn’t returning to live in the south. It was something much more ominous, something I might live to regret for the rest of my life. She convinced me to visit JDate.
To say I was reluctant is an understatement. I spend my days in front of a computer, I told her, why would I want to spend my nights there too? And, since I have always felt I was born in the wrong decade— my mother (z”l) and I seemed to be switched at birth— online dating seemed dangerous to me and not in a good way.
My friend was persistent so I took the plunge despite great trepidation. I agreed that I would complete the application and then decide whether to hit “Submit.” She sat alongside me and like all good coaches, mopped my sweating brow while I began the excruciating task of powering through a 20-page application, trying to convince complete strangers that I was worthy of their time and attention. I soldiered through even though I knew some of the folks on the site and began talking to the computer, saying, “Um, no you’re not!” or “That’s not true!” in response to much of what their profile said. I, of course, was completely honest, a tactic that I thought, for sure, would scare everyone away.
Then the moment of truth came. I already knew I was never planning to hit “Submit” when, all of a sudden, in what became an out-of-body experience played out in slow motion, my finger mistakenly hit the button. My friend jumped clear out of her seat when I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Abort! Abort!” To my great relief, my life did not become available for the world to see. I could remain blissfully anonymous.
After the nightmare ended, I took a look at my application. “I don’t look so great on paper,” I thought. I keep kosher, I attend Shabbat services weekly, I volunteer at my synagogue— what many people have termed “so Jewish.” Really? I always thought of myself as “just Jewish,” ironically, a term that has come to signify unaffiliated Jews or younger Jews, of which I am neither. Am I really “more” Jewish than another Jew? Of course not. I just express my Judaism in a way that feeds my soul and provides me with a sense of community, and I do my best to respect others who express theirs in their own way— whether through religious practice, love of Israel, lifecycle events, holidays, social justice, etc. Really, when it’s all said and done, we are all “just Jewish.”