Conundrums of a Half-Jew – a humorous romp through religious ambivalence.
Polish/Jewish mom; Italian/Catholic dad. I was a religious mutt — a matzo brie pizza; a blintz marinara; a bagel and lox trapped inside a spaghetti and meatballs body. I needed an identity. I could have become:
a) A Jew, invoking the very popular, and all-inclusive, ‘if
your mother is a Jew’ rule;
b) A Catholic, ignoring the above-mentioned rule; or,
c) A half Jew/half Cath, Jewolic, straddling both religions,
favoring the one that was most advantageous at the time.
For most of my youth I straddled Jew Catholic, or Cath Jew, or half and half, or half-Cath, or half-Jew, or Jewolic, depending upon whom I was trying to impress or what I was attempting to avoid. My Gram tried to convince me that I was a Jew by virtue of the ‘mother of the Jew rule’.
I remained solidly unconvinced and ambivalent.
“But why isn’t the rule: if your father was Catholic, you are too?” I always challenged the ‘mother of the Jew rule’ when I had an urgent need to irk.
“Because you are a Jew,” she said, a cigarette dangled from her lips and smoke meandered up through her glasses.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because, you are a schmuck and only Jews can be schmucks.”
She had embroidered the very same saying onto a pillow, which she threatened to give to me for my birthday. She opened the clasp on her purse and snapped it shut, signaling the official end of the conversation.
That was my conundrum. This is my story.
The Blurb is quite funny and makes you wonder what the book will be about. I’ve never read a book with a topic
like this. Although I do believe it can be something of a bother. I do know that a lot of families take their religion quite seriously.
I found Glebe’s childhood quite funny. I found his conundrum delightful and his proposition of using the dual religion to his benefit was SUPERB!! I have to admit, that ingenuity!! Really blew me away!!
What I liked was the author’s ability to tackle an issue such as religion and thinking about which one he should go to. I felt it is so true, like little Glebe praying to God only when he was stuck in a problem. Isn’t that what we all do??! We pray when we are in trouble. We pray to ask God to send the problems away. And while the writing was funny, it was sharp hitting in its truth. In today’s distorted world, we’ve become so cunning that we can manipulate ourselves into believing that God is here so we can go only when we have troubles and foibles but not when we’re happy or in gratitude.
The writing is plenty sharp and witty. I felt the jewish terms used were so well done, that the effect was comic. I laughed at Glebe for his conundrum and also wondered about how it would finally end. Oh how much I laughed when I read ‘Inverted Agnostic’!!!
I commend the author for writing about a difficult and often shirked topic with such clarity and wit
My Rating: 3.5/5