jewish-celebrities

anonymous asked:

Hey Hector. Sorry if this is a bother, but I'm new to the BMC fandom and just wanted to ask if there is anything I should know/keep in mind in case I start writing fics or creating fan art.

Hey Anon! It’s not a bother at all! Here are a few things you should know!! Welcome to the fandom!!

FANART

  • Christine is not white
  • Michael is not white
  • Lots of people like to draw Michael with a little mole above the left side of his mouth. This was started by @cryptidsp00n
  • Lots of people like to draw Rich with freckles, a tooth gap, and a red streak in his hair. None of these are canon in the musical, although Rich’s red streak is canon in the book. The freckles and tooth gap were started by @richardgoranski
  • these last two were honestly completely optional. its all up to you buddy!!
  • Lots of people like to draw Michael with a gay pride patch on the higher end of his left sleeve. This is essentially canon, and I would advise you most of all to not leave this out. George Salazar (the guy who played Michael) actually tweeted about it, which the fandom interprets to mean that it’s canon that Michael is gay. So honestly I’d advise against ignoring it, although it’s honestly cool if you leave it out m’dude. its your art. The gay pride patch was started by @gayradwhitedad
  • Don’t draw Jenna skinny!!! She’s played by Katie Ladner, who is not skinny!! 
  • Michael’s patches can be done completely canon, as shown in that link. however, everyone seems to have their own patch headcanons for him. ((hmu if you wanna see how i draw his sweatshirt lmao))
  • A lot of things are left up to interpretation!! Is Jeremy taller than Michael?? not canonically, but I love short Michael! Does Jake have frosted tips? Not canonically, but I love frosted Jakey D!
  • As long as you respect skin tones and body types, whatever you want to make is cool!!! Experiment, be free!!

FANFICTION

  • Jeremy is Jewish!! Even if he celebrates Christmas, which some Jewish people do, just bear in mind that he is! not! christian!
  • Christine has ADD, but not ADHD!! she says she has ADD, which is related to ADHD, but not the same thing. ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder, which means she has a hard time focusing on one thing for an extended period of time. ADHD is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, which means that someone has a hard time paying attention and/or sitting still for extended periods of time. yes, they’re similar, but not synonymous.   
  • Rich is bi!!
  • The girls have just as complex personalities as the boys. please give as much care to developing them as you do to the guys.
  • Chloe did a lot of fucked up things. look out for that. font make her a sweet baby. she doesn’t deserve that.
  • Friendships are just as important as romantic relationships, and can be just as good and interesting!!
  • Jake’s parents are not around, they’re on the run from the law! he has to look after himself, my dudes.
  • the squip is horrible and abusive. it makes Jeremy feel like shit. it tells him that they need to change everything about him because its all awful. it is both emotionally and physically abusive. Both Jeremy and Rich probably suffer from ptsd
  • try to branch out!! as great as boyf riends, richjake, and pinkberry are, also look into things like Jeremy’s relationship with his father, Chloe’s redemption arc (bc she needs redeeming lmao) and even other ships, like deere and expensive headphones :00 while they may not be the main ships of the fandom, they’re all super cute and (i cant find a link rip) Joe Tracz actually said that Rich and Michael would go to prom together!!
  • Michael is comfortable in his own skin!! Ye, he has social anxiety. But he doesn’t hate himself!! One of the defining factors of his personality is that he’s okay with who he is!! There are all kinds of anxiety, and don’t write him as self-hating!! its totally out of character for him :0
  • have fun, dude. be careful, and do your research if you’re writing about tricky topics like eating disorders, abuse, and anxiety. But most of all, just enjoy yourself. as long as you’re respectful, there should be no issues!! 

Feel free to shoot me an ask about any of this, or if you have any questions about if something’s cool to include in fanfic or not! I won’t tell you exactly what you can and cant write/draw, but I will try to nudge you in the right direction! Of course, only if you ask me to!! Anyone can message me about this stuff anytime, I love to help and suggest things!! I’m not scary I promise!!

Writing gay romance between Jewish characters with two differing levels of observance

I’m writing (or, right now, more planning/outlining, with occasional writing of small scenes that I can’t get out of my head) a novel about two Jewish men who fall in love in a very Xtian, conservative town. The older of the two (late thirties) is more closeted, reclusive, and is somewhat separated from his Jewish identity as a result of a combination of assimilation and intermarriage further back in his family. The main character (mid-late twenties) on the other hand is very involved with his synagogue, works at a Hebrew summer camp, keeps shabbos, etc.

My issue is that I’m very observant (conservaform) and so is my family; I know a few folks who go to my synagogue who are “high holy day Jews”, or might also come for a wedding or bris or bar/bas mitzvah, but not many who are non-observant to the degree of this character (hasn’t set foot in synagogue since being a child, didn’t have a bar mitzvah, has a pair of somewhat observant grandparents and some cousins/etc who are observant, but most of his immediate family isn’t observant). So I’m not sure how to portray the secondary character without someone going “why not just write a Jewish guy in love with an Xtian guy” or something, because even if his relationship to Judaism and Jewish culture are somewhat distant, they’re still there. I’m also afraid that someone is going to say “why are you bashing Xtianity” about some of the subject matter (as someone who has lived in a small town, I have a decent bit of material from personal experience on Xtian antisemitism), but really the main point is that I want to portray two Jewish men loving each other.

I want to write this but don’t want goyim in particular to try to argue that I should have just made my MC’s romantic interest Xtian in the first place, because one main theme I want to explore, which I haven’t seen explored much in fiction, is being gay and Jewish. Specifically, one concept I had for the second character is how his being closeted comes largely from a place of being raised in a Xtian-secular household in a very Xtian town, and homophobia being very religiously where he lives, and so him sort of being reluctant to explore religion at all; but then seeing how the MC is Very Jewish and somewhat-openly gay, and feeling both nostalgic for the parts of his grandparents he sees in the MC (speaking Yiddish, cooking traditional Ashkenazic food), as well as longing to be as comfortable with both his sexuality and to have a relationship with G-d as the MC does.

I don’t know if this is a weirdly specific character/plot concept, but it just came to me I guess and it’s been at me long enough that I’ve started to try to outline writing it. I just want to see more gay fiction with religious, specifically Jewish, characters. Thanks for any advice you can give.

Thank you for submitting a question so close to my heart! Looks like I need to break this down into several parts: 

1. How to portray secular Jews as something distinct from Christians, secular or otherwise - this may not be as hard as you think it is because you’re Jewish and your factory settings, your defaults, your unexamined ideas, may already be different from the Christians around you. Like, I was in my 30’s before I found out that gentiles don’t do the chair dance. I thought everyone did that. Give The Upside of Unrequired by Becky Albertalli (review here) a read – her main character tells the audience that “we’re the kind of Jewish family who eats bacon” and religion itself isn’t really a presence in her life, but she still finds it meaningful that the boy she’s working with at her new job turns out to be a fellow Jew.

Other possible markers of secular Jewishness:

  • Finding Jewish representation/acknowledgment of our existence in fiction (or the Jewishness of celebrities) meaningful
  • Casual use of the most common Yiddishisms (maybe not entire curse phrases, but, like, using the word ‘kvetch’ in ordinary conversation)
  • General feeling of alienation or otherness around super overt displays of Christianity
  • Foods like matzo ball soup or latkes (for your Ashkie characters, anyway; this might be different for other subgroups of us.) 

In my new release Knit One, Girl Two, the main character Clara is a secular Jew and one of the details I used to illustrate that is that her first kiss involved sneaking off with another girl during a friend’s bar mitzvah reception. She also refers to her grandparents as Bubby and Zayde and has strong opinions about which Jewish foods she does and doesn’t like. She’s slightly awkward around the love interest’s higher level of observance, which is something secular Jews might feel out of self-consciousness—if the character cared. A secular Jewish person and a gentile person don’t approach an observant Jewish person’s observance in the same way. The gentile may misunderstand or have misconceptions; the Jewish person might feel self-conscious for not participating. Or feel nostalgic for observant people in their past (like “oh, my grandma used to –!”) 

2. How to portray your own marginalization without sounding like you’re bashing the privileged group. Now, you’re not really obligated to watch out for the feelings of a group that has hurt you by having power over you… but at the same time I 100% understand not wanting to step on toes just to save your own peace of mind. Some suggestions for this:

  • Having some of the Christians in the town be nice, but powerless to stop the jackwagon ones.
  • Flat-out having your character say “I’m not mad at Christianity; these people don’t even seem like they’re following Jesus in the first place”
  • Cut down on the more painful elements and focus on your main characters’ reactions to their hurt rather than describing the bigotry itself. That will cut down on how much your bigoted characters hurt your RL readers, so they’ll be mad at them for your main characters’ sake but not for their own sake and it’ll give them a little distance. (Example: “OMG, I can’t believe how much of a jerk Todd was being, saying all that garbage about Jews and gay people.” Instead of “Todd walked into the room and shouted that Jews are X and gay people are Y!”)
  • Try to cut down on having the most bigoted characters belong to groups marginalized along another axis. You’re going to perpetuate fatphobia if your most bigoted character is also your only fat character, and if I were reading this story I’d be uncomfortable if the homophobic/antisemitic characters were Black unless a Black author was writing it because from a white pen this could easily be read as blaming those two -phobias on Black people instead of white supremacy where it belongs. 

3. I don’t think you’re going to get “you might as well have made him Christian” coming from outsiders because you’re a Jewish person writing Jewish characters. Just speaking from personal experience.. In any case, a secular Jewish character is not a Christian character. Sometimes they can come off that way when gentiles write them, because they won’t know what kind of details to add to make their being Jewish not seem arbitrarily pasted on, but I doubt that would happen from a Jewish writer. 

4. “One main theme I want to explore, which I haven’t seen explored much in fiction, is being gay and Jewish.” 

I have several recommendations for you! 

First of all, Jordan S. Brock’s just come out with a m/m novel called Change of Address based on her own experiences with PTSD and a service dog—it’s even dedicated to the service dog. Like her, the love interest is a Jewish adoptee, and the character’s observance mirrors her own – he and his father don’t allow bacon in the house but they’ll eat pepperoni as long as it’s somewhere else, for example. 

Out of print but easy to find in libraries through ILL is The Dyke and the Dybbuk, Ellen Galford’s paranormal f/f comedy about a demon who possesses a Jewish lesbian cab driver and makes her get a crush on an Orthodox woman as a prank. (Review)  

I also collected this list of free queer Jewish SFF short stories, which includes nonbinary representation. As far as my own works go, I really tried to infuse the Tales from Perach collection with all the joy and gratefulness both Judaism, Jewishness, and queerness have brought to my life – there’s a lesbian’s grateful prayer of thanks for her relationship with her wife, an elderly trans woman and her husband attending services, and a royal family with two moms and two dads putting on an exceptionally lavish Purimspiel that includes a scripted swordfight. 

I’m glad you’re writing something to add to this and expand the body of LGBT Jewish literature, especially something where both members of the couple are Jewish.

–Shira

Okay here’s why gentiles celebrating Jewish holidays is fundamentally wrong

here are some of our holiday: passover (escaping slavery), channukkah (resisting assimilation under threat of genocide), purim (escaping genocide). See a pattern? Most of jewish history is about being punted around from place to place because no one wants us between pogroms, ghettoes and shtetls. 

When you celebrate a Jewish holiday as a non-Jew, you take our history of suffering and turn it into your little party and then happily step out of it. You play dress up as a Jew with no care for the suffering of actual Jews, historical and modern. 

Now this is ESPECIALLY bad when Christians do it. Lots of times it was Christians instigating pogroms, confining us to ghettoes and trying as hard as they could to destroy our cultures. You don’t get to profit off of 2,000 years of systematic destruction and then pretend you’re Jewish. 

While we’re here. Messanic Jews ARENT jews. 

a lot of the stuff I see about celebrating Jewish holidays (particularly passover) is that you all want to do what Jesus did. How ever, please consider:

1) Jesus was Jewish. He was born a Jew and died a Jew

2) you are not Jewish

Most Jewish families LOVE to share their holidays and culture. If you’re interested in learning, there are networks to help people find seders. But above all remember you are a guest. Eating someone else’s food in someone else’s house and having someone else’s culture graciously shared with you.

and if you REALLY need to celebrate Jewish holidays yourself, consider why and maybe look into conversion.

hey guess what if you’re not jewish and you celebrate/observe jewish holidays in ANY circumstance other than being explicitly invited to join a specific service/dinner/seder/ritual/etc by a jewish person then i fucking hate you

if there are no jews around when you’re observing jewish holidays you are doing something wrong and harmful and you need to stop

anonymous asked:

In what ways have you experienced antisemitism in England? (Not being passive aggressive, genuinely curious)

This is obviously just a set of my own, personal experiences.

  • When I was 13, an Iraqi Muslim refugee girl came to my school and ended up in my class part-way through the year. She was told to sit beside me, and my table of students was asked (in private, by the teacher) to help her with her English skills. She became a friend very quickly, and weeks passed normally, until I complained (of course) about preparing for Pesach at home. She didn’t know what Pesach was, so I explained as best as I could. She asked if I was a Jew and I told her that I was. She then called me “dirty” and asked to be moved to sit somewhere else. She never spoke to me again.
  • When I was 16 at my first job with a clothing retailer, an Arab woman was angry that I couldn’t give her money back on some clothes (because of some store policy), called me a “thieving Jew” and stormed out.
  • I’ve had friends become ex-friends because they found out that I was Jewish, and they said that I “manipulated” them by not admitting that I was Jewish in the first place.
  • I’ve had ex-friends say that they wouldn’t have been friends with me in the first place because “Jews always want something in return.”
  • When I was 17 and worked at a jewellery chain store, I was serving an Arab man until he noticed the Magen David around my neck. He cursed at me in Arabic and demanded that my manager serve him instead. When she tried to show him the jewellery that I had brought out to show him, he wanted a discount because of “the Jew’s filthy hands.”
  • In the same job, there was a Muslim woman that I worked with that joined me outside for cigarette breaks. She always begged to make sure we were right down an alleyway so the main street wouldn’t see us. I asked her why she was afraid of being seen, and she told me that others from her mosque might see her. I then asked if it was forbidden for her to smoke, and she told me that it was, but it would be worse if her family found out she was talking to a Jew and she didn’t want to risk it. She begged me to deny that we were friends if any Muslim or Arab asked me if I knew her.
  • My boss at the same job made a point to remind me that the safe had security cameras surrounding it, because she said she knew what “you people” were like. When I faced antisemitism from customers, she demanded that I stop wearing my Magen David so I wouldn’t “antagonise” them.
  • When I had to transfer to a different jewellery store due to moving away to university, I had a different Muslim co-worker. For context, if two people worked together to make a sale, they were supposed to “split” the sale on the computer, as each staff member had a daily quota for both item value and insurance that we were supposed to sell. I did most of the sale, and he said he would help put the sale through the machine, as the customer thought she might buy something else, too. After she was gone, I found out that he’d stolen all of the sale from me. I confronted him, and he told me that “Jews have enough money.”
  • When I was 20, I went to court with my family because of (non-related to our Jewishness) harassment against us from our neighbours. Our court-provided lawyer was a friendly Muslim woman. She sat with us and helped us prepare for being in court, as we’d never been before. My mother has a nervous habit of fidgeting with her jewellery, and the lawyer stopped part-way through a sentence when she noticed her Magen David (for clarification - none of us have “obviously Jewish” names), made an excuse that we were prepared, then left us. In court, she hardly asked any questions unlike the defence lawyer, and after the case finished (it was short, thanks to those behind the harassment being repeat offenders) when we wanted to ask her about what happened next, we were all completely ignored and she refused to shake any of our hands, even after we’d seen her shaking with the defence lawyer.
  • I had a Christian roommate at university tell me that she would “forgive me” for “killing Christ” if I accepted Jesus as my saviour, and was angry when I refused.
  • In a taxi with an Arab driver, he was friendly and asked me if I was doing anything for Christmas. I told him that I was Jewish so wasn’t celebrating, but would probably go to a friend’s Christmas party. He then asked me what I thought about what was happening in Palestine, and I said that the situation was a horrible mess, and that all we could do was hope for peace. He then said, “Jews are baby-killers” and accused me of being racist.
  • When I went to pick up some kosher items from the local supermarket, an Arab family spotted me in the aisle (as kosher, halaal, Polish and “speciality” non-refrigerated items were along the same aisle) and followed me around the store as I picked up the rest of my shopping, laughing in Arabic, and then spat on me. When I went to a staff member to tell them about what happened, he accused me of being an Islamophobic racist and told me that if I didn’t leave the store, he would call security.
  • A different Arab taxi driver, on a journey back home, asked me if I was Jewish. When I told him that I was, he asked threatening questions about “how many Jews” lived with me and when we’d all be home together. I was frightened, I admit, and I gave him the wrong address and hurried to the first person that was outside their house, asking them to take me in because I was worried. I called home, obviously, but the driver stayed outside for over half an hour and only left when the stranger I was with went outside to ask what he wanted, where he apparently said that he was “making sure I (as in, me) was home safe.”
  • I went to buy cigarettes from a corner shop using my debit card. The machine declined it for some reason, although I had more than enough money to cover it. I asked the owner to put the card through again, and he shouted that “Your Jew money’s no good here” and demanded that I leave.
  • I’ve been called a “babykiller” and a “Zionist bitch” when a man spotted my Magen David.
  • My synagogue’s windows have been vandalised, smashed and there has been excrement shoved through the letterbox and smeared on windows and we have to organise an extra police presence during festivals. Over recent years, all signs saying that the synagogue is in fact a synagogue have been removed.
  • When preparing for an inter-faith walk of peace, a priest visited our synagogue and called us “obstacles to peace” and “selfish” for saying that we couldn’t walk on a Saturday morning, when we’re supposed to be in the synagogue praying.

I’ve been spat at multiple times, I’ve had antisemitic slurs thrown at me multiple times. I stopped using Facebook a few years ago because of random rape and death threats sent into my inbox and written when I commented or liked anything to do with Israel or Judaism. My mother has had the same. We have to do our best to protect my brother from the same, and have told him never to tell anyone that he’s Jewish, because that would be far too dangerous for him.

Obviously this isn’t even mentioning the abuse that I’ve had on this site, where I’ve been called a Nazi, I’ve been told to kill myself, asks with antisemitic slurs (not dark jokes, but actual abuse), because whilst I do post some, there are quite a few that I’ve just deleted without comment to block whichever anon has been sending them.

So when I talk about antisemitism, I’m not just someone that happens to be Jewish and is against antisemitism because it’s anti-Jewish as some out-there concept that I’m against, it’s because I’ve been there, I’ve done that, been through it, keep going through it.

It’s very real, and it can be incredibly frightening. That’s why I take it so seriously. And that’s also why I criticise Jews for claiming that some things are antisemitic when they’re clearly not, because I want others to see how horrendous antisemitism actually is so that they take it seriously, too.

POC Profile: Jewish Middle Eastern from Israel

I was born in Israel and moved to the United States later on. I’m of Yemen, Egyptian and Syrian descent but am 100% Mizrachi Jewish. My family all moved into Israel in or right after World War II, having gone through its affects in context of the Middle East. I am bilingual (Hebrew and English) so I may also point out some bilingual experiences. 

I see a lot of talk about Ashkenazi (European) Jews and the Arabic/Muslim community in the Middle East, but barely see any information about Mizrachi Jews (which is a huge ethnicity). 

Culture/Holidays: Even though Mizrachi Jewish culture is very similar to its surrounding Middle Eastern community it’s also extremely different. Because Jews were segregated from Muslim (and other goy religions) neighborhoods they grew their own cultures and traditions, and because they were far away from their Ashkenazi sisters the holidays are celebrated differently. Some even created new holidays! A good example of this is Mimuna, a Moroccan-Jewish holiday celebrating the finish of the intense Kosher within the Passover season. I’ve noticed that in my Grandma’s Yemen household we celebrate holidays differently than in my Ashkenazi friend’s households (also extremely differently than in American Jewish households). We read different parts of Magalas, sing different songs, and if we do sing the same songs they are probably set in different tunes. Simply, search up traditions for the specific area you’re writing about, because chances are they celebrate it differently than most Jews you see in the USA (or any European country) do.

Food: You know how people make jokes about white people food being bland? It’s the same in the Jewish community. Food is very different within the Jewish community. You heard of kugel? That’s an Ashkenazi food. So is defiltefish and chunt and matzabre (although matzabre does have a Yemeni equivalent called ftut where you soak the matza instead of fry it). Middle Eastern Jewish food is amazing! Although I can mostly only tell you about Yemen food, it’s such a great area to explore. Yemeni Jewish food is very filling and has a lot of dough based recipes (such as jachnun and malauach), and has amazing spice and sauces like schug and chilbe. A lot of the food is also pita based (the cuisine very rarely involve bread). And Just like how the shnitzel snuck into Ashkenazi food, goy Middle Eastern food became a common in the Mizrachi community, like shwarma, falafel and shakshuka. 

In Israel there are some really common food differences than in the USA. Falafel is the common street food (similar to getting one of those ham and egg bagels in a coffee shop in an inner city area in the USA). Almost every house is equipped with pita, and bread is of higher level than the usual pre-cut soft white bread that is found in Supermarkets in the USA. The Mizrachi and Ashkenazi cuisine gets really mixed (such as having Ashkenazi defiltefish with Yemeni chilbe as a spice) and there are some stables that everybody eats (like shnitzel with ptitim or spaghetti).

History: The main thing I want to say here is that yes, the Mizrachi community was affected by WWII. Just like with Trump, when a powerful nation f**** up, the whole world feels it. The Holocaust was not exclusive to Europe. The Mizrachi community was hunted for literally thousands of years in the Middle East (seriously, that’s what many of our holidays are about) and it absolutely did not end until we were able to move out. My Yemeni grandmother had to run away from Yemen and walk the whole way through Saudi Arabia to get to Israel because their community was being murdered in masses, the Jewish community in Yemen is practically extinct, everybody who could moved to Israel. My grandfather in Egypt faced the same causes to move into Israel, even though his family was powerful in Cairo back then they left all their belongings when his uncle was killed on the street by an anti-Semitic riot.

Identity Issues: Back in Israel my identity wasn’t an issue for me. I was Jewish (like everybody) and Mizrachi (like many). But when I moved to the USA it was different. All the Jews here were Ashkenazi (except for the small Sephardi community) and none of the Middle Eastern community here was Jewish. They barely even thought it existed. I still have people who are shocked when I say I’m a Mizrachi Jew, because they thought that Judaism was almost exclusively a white religion. Which I can’t blame them for when that’s all they see around them. But it’s still a problem. Middle Eastern meetups commonly wouldn’t accept me as a Middle Eastern person, and even more so shunned me for being Israeli even though I’m not anti-Palestine. I would still go to meetups like this even though I was commonly called a terrorist or would have to deal with anti-Semitism, because even though I was the only Jew there, these people still dealt with similar problems to which I did living in this which supremacist nation - I felt closer to them than I did to Ashkenazi Jews (and unlike in Ashkenazi communities I was not treated as a token POC).  I stopped going when my mom banned me from such meetings, because someone in the group threatened to hurt me. I’m not saying it’s not okay to be disgusted by Israels actions against the Arabic community around it (I am too), I’m just saying that shunning me from that community when I had no other community to go to because of something I could not and did not have any say in was not the right answer in my opinion.

Language: One aspect that the Ashkenazi and Mizrachi community have in common is the Holy language, Hebrew. In Israel that’s the main language that is spoken, other than minor communities who speak Arabic or Ultra-Orthodox communities who speak Yiddish. Still, the communities were separated for so many years that there are many alternate pronunciations and accents. As you may have noticed in the food section, Ashkenazi food names are a lot more European, while Mizrachi names are a lot closer to Arabic and other Semitic languages. 

Misconceptions: Judaism is not a white religion! That is not to say that Ashkenazi Jews aren’t white, but saying that Judaism is a white religion cuts POC Jews (or JOC? I’ve never seen that in use) out of their goy communities. Judaism is found all around the world, there are Latinx Jews, East Asian Jews, African Jews, Hispanic Jews, and Middle Eastern Jews. The only place I would be shocked to find a Jewish Ethnicity in would be Native American tribes. Also on a different note, bilinguals do mix up languages. I see bilingual people shunning monolingual authors for having characters accidentally answer in the wrong language, saying “whoops! I was thinking in my /other language/!” But I do this so commonly that my friends joke that I’m a badly written bilingual character. I’m just saying that the bilingual experience is vast, and not everybody thinks the same.

Things I’d like to see less of/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing: Every Jewish family being written like the Maus family. All of them are white German Jews who’s family suffered through the Holocaust. Don’t get me wrong, Holocaust survivor’s stories are so so important. But all the Jews I see in media are Jewish studies professors in the upper middle class suburban area who adopted a kid of a different race and made them hilariously Jewish in an out of place way. It’s so boring. And nonrepresentational. Please stop creating stereotypical cookie-cut Jews. Also the idea that Jews are the extreme end of being white, where Jews can’t even start to understand people of color, or white Jews marking themselves as people of color. 

Things I’d like to see more of: More Mizrachi Jews! I’m telling you this is such a rad community, and it is barely explored in literature. Once when I tried to find any books or studies about Yemeni Jews in English, and all I found was one book about Yemeni-American second generation girls in Michigan (it’s called “All American Yemeni Girls” by Loukia K. Sarroub, and is an amazing study you should read). All I found was this one book! This tells me that both the Middle Eastern and Mizrachi communities are lacking in literature. 

Please just consider integrating different Jewish communities into your story if possible.

Shira’s Note:

Great post! I just wanted to add a note that I’ve seen a Native+Jewish blogger on Tumblr; I’m not sure if there was a conversion or intermarriage at some point but I would hate for that one blogger (whose URL escapes me at the moment) to feel erased. Another note about the bilingual thing: it is VERY, VERY important for people writing bilingual characters to understand that different languages treat their bilingual speakers different ways. The ways Yiddish sneaks into English are different from the ways Spanish sneaks into English and both are different from the way Mandarin sneaks into English. Don’t extrapolate the Yiddish-inflected English from TV sitcom Ashkies as the way Spanglish works, for example. This post is a testimonial as to why.

Third, lol: “All of them are white German Jews who’s family suffered through the Holocaust.” it me, so thank you for contributing this post so that my voice isn’t the only one on here. We all really appreciate it.

–Shira

Adon Olam
Abayudaya Congregation
Adon Olam

Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

“African-Jewish music in which the rhythms and harmonies of Africa blend with Jewish celebration and traditional Hebrew prayer… rooted in local Ugandan music and infused with rich choral singing. This singular community of African people living committed Jewish lives has survived persecution and isolation and asserts, ‘We have been saved by our music.’” 

Please don’t forget that Jeremy Heere is Jewish (As he mentions blowing all of his bar mitzvah money on a “wintergreen tic tac”) and so he, and his father (presuming) are more likely to not celebrate Christmas with the rest of the Be More Chill characters. Please do not write him celebrating the holiday. It is fine to headcanon that Jeremy does not get offended at the Christmas music or festive lights or other such things, but he does not celebrate it. 

So this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but these thoughts became very coherent to me in the last day.

I think there’s a very big difference in the way Jews in Israel view the threats to the Jewish People, and the way Jews in diaspora view these threats, and I want you guys to see what lead me to feel this way

I’m Israeli, born and raised. I’m a secular Jew. I define myself as Israeli before I define myself as Jewish. I grew up in a secular neighborhood, in a secular city, I’ve rarely attended synagogue, and yet I’ve never for a second doubted my Judaism. Because in Israel it’s everywhere. It’s the fact that the national holidays are the Jewish ones. It’s the fact that our weekend is Friday and Saturday, and in Sunday we go back to work. It’s in the Kashrut in all the public places. It’s in the sufganiyot selling everywhere in November and December, and in the thousands of people in customs you see on the streets in Purim. It’s even in the fact every teen in Israel travels to Poland to visit concentration camp, the culmination of an intensive year of studying the Holocaust in school, and every year in Yom HaShoah, a siren is sounded throughout the country and everyone stands still. I don’t personally know a single person who believes in Christ. Living in Israel means that you don’t have to be active in order to define yourself as Jewish and to celebrate your Judaism. It’s enough to just be, and Judaism will come to you.

Which is why we aren’t worried about assimilating as Jews in the diaspora do. It is why I couldn’t understand yesterday why the “Jews for Jesus” and the “Messianic Israelites” offend you guys so much. To me, they look like ridiculous idiots, parading their stupidity around. To Jews in the diaspora, as I’ve realized in the past day, they are actual threats.

When I’m thinking of threats to the Jewish people, I’m thinking of physical threats. I’m thinking of the enemy countries that surround me and of the enemies from within who are trying to destroy us, I’m thinking of the roaring antisemitism in Europe that brought my mother here 35 years ago and hasn’t gone down, even slightly, since. I’m not thinking of assimilation. But it’s a real threat too, and I shouldn’t disregard it.

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Beastie Boys on David Letterman (1992)

Well, back to the back to the back to the beat
Down with the sound it sounds so sweet
Just how fresh can you get y'all?
Those that are blessed say yes y'all

anonymous asked:

What advice do you have for really effectively and respectfully portraying Jewish characters?

i can’t speak for every jewish person and i’m sure you’ll find other people who feel differently, but this is just how i feel personally!

1. you should be aware of anti-semitic stereotypes and make sure to avoid them! common ones depict jewish people as having big noses, being greedy/cheap, there’s the nagging jewish mother/wife, the JAP (jewish-american princess), the nice jewish boy, among others. there’s a wiki article that has a bunch of them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotypes_of_Jews

2. if you’re going to bring up something about a character’s jewishness, don’t bring it up solely to make joke. i see tv shows with characters who are clearly supposed to be jewish, but the only time it’s brought up is if it’s a joke about their bar mitzvah or making a joke about their nagging mother or something, basically creating characters that are only jewish for a laugh

3. not every jewish person practices the same way. there are different sects of judaism, and within those sects people differ (research the different sects!). one of my friends who i went to hebrew school with and temple with was strictly kosher, but i was not. some people will go to services that are like 3 hours long but i would hate to spend that many hours at services! i chose to attend hebrew school through my senior year of high school when my siblings did not. there are different ways to practice and people have different preferences, even within families! 

4. if you want to talk about your character being jewish (like showing them celebrating holidays, going to services, practicing in any way, showing what their home life is like) then do some research on judaism! look up practices and holidays and foods and all that stuff.

but one problem when writing a jewish character when you’re not jewish is that including certain things about their jewishness that may be genuine and real can sometimes come off as stereotyping. like if you had your jewish character eating bagels and lox it MAY come off as a stereotype to some jewish people even though plenty of jews DO eat that. and some people i think would see it as a genuine representation and appreciate that detail! i think you just gotta use your best judgement on this and know that different people will see it in different ways! (i don’t think this applies to everything though! ex. celebrating hanukkah. or other things that i don’t think are really attached to stereotypes)

but! you also don’t even have to talk about your character doing “jewish things” to make sure people know they’re jewish. they can just say so, or maybe it’s evident by their name, or maybe mentioning that they celebrate hanukkah! jewish people still do stuff that everyone does like eat pizza and go to the movies and stress out over tests at school and all that stuff and i think it’s okay to have a jewish character do those things and not have everything focused on their jewishness. but it’s your call of course! 

for me personally, i’d appreciate and enjoy seeing a jewish character mention celebrating shabbat on friday night, or making matzo ball soup for their family, or talk about how nervous they were for their bar/bat mitzvah, or eating some bagels and lox. but i would also be perfectly content just knowing that a character is jewish without focusing on their practices, and just having them being a strongly written and likable character!

5. if you have any jewish friends, talk to them or ask them stuff to learn more about what it’s like to be jewish/be raised jewish! ask about family traditions, family dynamics, services, hebrew school, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc.! i think being jewish can definitely affect how you view and experience the world so i think it would help to ask some actual jewish people stuff to make your character sound more genuine

and if there is a lacking of jewish people around you, and therefore no jewish friends, you can always ask me! 

6. reading books by jewish authors might help! or reading/watching stuff about jewish characters that were done well 

that’s all i can think of for now but keep in mind that these aren’t rules! this is just how i feel about it so i hope that this could help you out ;) don’t hesitate to ask me questions if you have any!