Passing Jewish

Well! From the brink of a NYTimes-based kibosh, my Haiti chocolate factory story went live yesterday, to mixed results. My food writing teacher (see nacho video below) wrote an e-mail to say:

Got my newsletter this morning – some nice work you’re doing there! The piece on Madelaine Chocolates was a great example of those local food world stories the Edibles are so good at telling.

When I told her about being scooped, she suggested I start pitching my own stories to the Times! I told her the thought made me sick with fear and she said, “Take a few more laps in the pool, then do it.” Okay.

On the flip side, the head of marketing at Madelaine Chocolates called to ask why their Hannukah gelt (traditional chocolate coins) were the first product I wrote about. She said “We make lots of things, from chocolate Easter bunnies to Santa Clauses…” At first I thought she was implying that I was pigeonholing the company because it is Jewish-owned.

Upon further reflection, I think she suspected me (last name Hirsch) of touting my own culture’s confections at the expense of more popular Christian treats. Ha! My last name is a misnomer- I have a little Jewish blood but have been to synagogue exactly once, and I’ve never celebrated a high holiday with my family. I chose gelt over Easter bunnies because they sounded more substantial and less frivolous for a story about Haiti. Maybe an odd choice but certainly not a biased one.

But I just got to thinking, is there any way to exploit my last name to get me into secret Jewish parties? With snacks?


3 responses to “Passing Jewish

  1. My first week in college, the school rabbi pored through the directory and picked out the students with Jewish-sounding names. No matter how I tried, I could not get myself off of the Jewish party email list that this rabbi created. Until he was fired for this and other questionable practices.

    Moral is: getting invited to secret Jewish parties isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  2. Well, according to that one Law & Order episode, the Jews are running showbiz, so maybe you could use your faux-Jewness to finagle an introduction to Beyonce.

  3. for years I thought you were Jewish, which is the only reason I trusted and befriended you.

    When I found at you weren’t, I conducted a traditional Jewish ritual involving eating only smoked meats and fried potatoes for seven days.

    Now we’re cool my goyishe friend.

    Remember, you’re Jewish enough for the Nazis!

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