May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It’s finally occurred to me why I’m not a multimillionaire. And no, it’s not because I’m a writer and a teacher, which are two jobs that pay so little that doing both of them together actually makes you get paid less somehow. It’s because my work is never seen by non-Jews. And there are way more non-Jews than Jews out there, I’ve noticed. So many that instead of being called “Jews” and “non-Jews,” maybe it should be “Gentiles” and “non-Gentiles.” And the weird thing is that most of them don’t even know they’re Gentiles.

And no, it’s not your fault that my work isn’t seen by more non-Jews. I’m not asking you to pick up a Non-Gentile Link of New Jersey for your non-Jewish neighbors, or even hint to them that they should pick it up themselves via leaving your copy open to my article right next to the light switch. It’s just that I apparently write articles that are mostly geared toward being Jewish. I blame myself, really. And knowing the Gentiles, they probably blame me, too.

So this week, since it’s the summer and a lot of our Jewish neighbors are out of town anyway, I might as well write an article for all the non-Jews out there. Maybe some tips for living among us. (Note to goyim: No one’s out of town. Please don’t rob anyone.)

—Never walk into a Jewish event and yell, “OK, who owns the gray minivan?”—Don’t go to a Jewish grocery store on a Thursday or Friday. Or a Saturday, for that matter.—And definitely don’t go on the night after Passover.

—If it ever sounds like a Jew is bending over backwards trying not to tell you to do something, that’s what you should do.—If you’re ever out somewhere and you see a bunch of Jewish men facing the same direction in silence, don’t stand with them and try to figure out what they’re looking at. (“I still can’t see it. I’m going to elbow my way to the front.”)

—Fun fact: There are only two Jewish songs—“Hava Nagila” and the one about the dreidel.—Just kidding; there are lots of songs. But there are only two dances.

—Contrary to what you may think, “Shabbat Shalom” is not a fancy way of saying, “Shalom.” Yes, we say it to each other when we’re dressed fancy, but it’s kind of like if we would tell you “Happy New Year” every time we passed you on the street. A fancy “Shalom” is “Shalom Aleichem.” Try saying that. (Note: When a Jew responds with “Aleichem Shalom,” FYI that’s the accepted response. He’s not correcting you.)

—Jews love it when Gentiles try to pronounce Jewish words. Especially words with throat-clearing sounds in them. We love it so much that that sound appears twice in our alphabet.—You can bring joy to almost any Jewish event you’re invited to by managing to wear a yarmulke in the most comical position possible.—When you’re at a co-worker’s wedding, sitting with all their other non-Jewish associates (“You’re all non-Jews; you probably know each other”) and they start playing the intro before the bride and groom come in, don’t suddenly stand up and yell, “Hey! I know this song!”

—Bagels must be cut horizontally. All the sages agree on this.

—Holiday tip: Before complaining about having to cook for your holidays, realize that Jews have 2-to-3-day holidays on a regular basis. Plus you already know about Saturdays. So instead of complaining, ask us for recipes. One bite of your overnight cholent potato kugel with extra kishke (“And the good news is it’s been cooking since yesterday!”) will convince all your relatives to stop asking you to host the holiday meals. (“Where are you going? I also have 15 flavors of herring!”)—Do Gentiles even eat herring?

—Jews don’t love it when you casually mention that your savior was Jewish. It’s not like we knew him. That is not how you play Jewish geography.

—One day a year, we all walk to the synagogue carrying beach chairs. We know you’re just trying to be friendly, but some comments that are not appreciated are, “Fun day planned?” or “Why do you own a beach chair?” or “How long ago did you buy those sneakers?”

—Many Jews refer to your entire school curriculum—which includes everything you do in school over the course of the day—as, quote, “English.” (“But—But this is math. Words aren’t even involved!” “Nope. That’s English.”)—If you ever want to play a prank on your Jewish neighbor, shovel the snow off his walk on a Saturday morning before he gets up. Then you can stand back and watch him spend the rest of the day making sure everyone passing by knows he didn’t do it.

—Jews don’t control the world, but we do sometimes get alternate side parking suspended. Tip: If your Jewish employee ever seems like he’s just making up a holiday so he can get off, try parking on the wrong side of the street that day.—Thanks to the Jewish people and the Sabbath, Jews are single-handedly keeping the paper-book industry afloat.—Having an extended conversation with a Jewish person isn’t always easy, and not just because you might accidentally get hit when he’s using his arms to express himself. For example, many Jews appear to speak English, but then, when they get to the crucial part of a sentence, they will suddenly stick in a word you don’t understand, or trip over themselves trying to substitute a word that you do understand but that doesn’t quite make sense in the sentence.—Jews have special cereals that they only eat on Saturday.—When selling cars to Jewish people, know that the only feature Jews really care about is how many car seats you can get across the middle.

—The word “Jews” is not considered antisemitic. Unless you put a “the” in front of it. (“What?! I like the Jews. Some of my best friends are the Jews.”) The word “those” can make it even worse.


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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