Soccer….Family Style

Not Jewish Enough, Or Too Jewish
December 4, 2010, 2:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Life often offers up some interesting juxtapositions. I’ve spent the last 36 hours thinking why people in the soccer world were worried about me traveling to Qatar as a Jewish soccer fan. Obviously, I’m not quiet about my Jewish identity, but it’s hardly stamped on my passport. My two blonde children and blonde husband are hardly screaming out “Tribe”! to anyone.

Case in point: I went to synagogue tonight to celebrate Hanukkah with my family. As services ended, we gathered in the social hall for dinner and discussion. An older gentleman was there and purposefully introduced himself to me. “Hi, I’m Mr. Jewish Sounding Name. And you are?” “Tanya, Tanya Keith. Nice to meet you.” He started sputtering, “Keefe?” “NoKeith K E I T H” I said, a little annoyed. Then he did it: “Keith!? Well that’s not a Jewish sounding name!” I will save my commentary on how Jews shoot themselves in the foot with these comments all the time for another blog, but suffice it to say, I let him know that was inappropriate  to say and left without further discussion.

So here I am, caught between two worlds. With some close minded people in the synagogue, I’m not Jewish enough. In the soccer community, I’m too Jewish to be comfortable in Qatar. I think in both instances, my response it, I’m just as Jewish and as big a soccer fan as I need to be. If you don’t think I belong, that’s for you to work out….on your own time. So I hope you meant what you said about bringing Middle East cultures together, Qatar bidding committee. Because I may miss Shabbat services, but I have a 16 year streak of World Cups that I’m in no mood to break.

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