Yesterday I talked to some well-meaning elderly lady at an event and it made me so angry that I have to write about it. We were talking about interfaith discussions where she is involved and at some point she asked me:
"So how did you develop an interest in … the Jewish … let me say, religion?"
I looked at her a bit confused, I guess, so she added:
"Well, you cannot be born that way. And [some representative of some community] said you have to be born that way."
I hate when people assume that because of my name or because of my looks I cannot be Jewish. I hate it when someone denies my identity as a convert and declares conversion to be impossible. And I hate Jewish "officials" or those taken to speak for the community who misrepresent Judaism. So I tried to explain to her that it definitely is possible to convert, only very hard in some places, when there is no Jewish infrastructure to speak of. I don’t think she listened.
Next step was then to go over to anti-semitism – as a self-declared interfaith-dialogue-oriented person she probably would reject any association with anti-semitism, but what am I supposed to think when confronted with this statement:
Well Jesus was Jewish, this is now recognized by the church, and I think it is very important to learn about the roots of the church. But what the Israelis do, that is of course a problem.
Whatever the connection between these two sentences was supposed to be. I tried to at least get the point across that not all Jews are Israelis, but she kept interrupting me with:
Well, these camps for the Palestinians, this is not ok.
That was the point when I simply left. I didn’t want to get into a long discussion about Israel with a clueless person who doesn’t listen.
Afterwards of course I was angry at myself for leaving. I should at least asked what she thinks who build the camps, I should have asked her what she thinks of the French reaction to the terror in Paris and why it is wrong when the Israelis do the same thing. But I cannot fight every fight, sometimes I have to protect my emotional well-being and just leave. People are so stupid!!!!