fans · jews of color · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism

A letter from a not-so-fan fan

Dear Aliza,

While I would not call myself a “fan” of yours, since I disagree with much of what you write (and am also a follower of Fox News, and like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc.) I do read your [blog posts], and felt I had to share with you something that happened yesterday, since you are partially responsible for my actions.

I am a Medical Device Sales rep. I met yesterday afternoon with a colleague who is leaving the company, and my boss. We met in the lobby of the Brooklyn Marriott. Upon walking into the lounge I saw a Black guy wearing a yarmulke working on his laptop. My first thought was ” Hey, that might be MaNishtana,” since I find his posts and perspective interesting. Then I thought, “if I ask him if he IS Ma Nishtana, would that be racist; i.e., how many black jews can there be?”

So after a few minutes, I excused myself from the meeting, and walked over to him and introduced myself. I asked him where he lives (Crown Heights), and what he does (planning a restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn). I gave him my opinion on which Hashgochos to get, and gave him my contact info, telling him that if he ever wants to spend a Shabbos in Far Rockaway, he’s invited to my home.
I wished him good luck and Hatzlacha, and returned to my meeting. I never questioned him about his Yiddishkeit, nor about his convictions. I just offered a Shabbos in my home, and some friendly advice; one Jew to another.

Why am I telling you this? I am not looking for praise for doing the right thing, nor am I gloating. I AM convinced, however, that BECAUSE of your blog I have become more sensitive to JOCs, a term I had never heard of before reading your posts. I’m not sure I agree with term, since we ARE supposed to be one people, but often reality does not live up one’s expectations. That, and I think people today DO come to snap judgements based on skin color. Certainly less that ten years ago, but it still persists. Maybe in a generation or two it wont matter at all, but for now I feel we must all do our part. I truly hope he takes me up on my offer, if no other reason, than I want my children to share their Shabbos table with someone who experiences things they do not.

Thank you for opening my eyes, and making me a better Jew.

BP in NYC

9 thoughts on “A letter from a not-so-fan fan

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