The rhyme is: "If life has got you down/ And peace seems out of reach/ Mix Manischevitz w/some Jager / it's called a "Brighton Beach." So, Jennifer, this one's for you.* (see below for proportions and tasting notes, compliments of McDreamy).
Last week, I started following Jennifer Weiner on Twitter. If you don't know who Jennifer Weiner is ... how are we friends again? No, seriously, she's one of the bastions of chick-lit, a term that I use reluctantly, because it's often used as a way of dismissing women who write about women's experiences, but I think we should re-claim it. Her books (my favorites have been Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Certain Girls) are smart, snappy, funny, and poignant, and they speak to a large swath of women, myself included. I would very much like to be her best friend, because sometimes I feel like she knows me, but then I have to remind myself that she doesn't know me and I don't want to creep her out.
|Jennifer, this is NOT me! I promise!|
What I loved about Weiner's response was that she started tweeting Jewish raps like this:
- That Tablet mag piece?/ Kind of mean, pretty jerky / When I'm as Jewish as a kosher/ barbecued Empire turkey
- Tablet Magazine/Now you've pissed off my Nanna/You know she'll save the day/ Like she saves half a banana.
- I'm a literary chick and I Seder with the best/I sit shiva like a boss/When a loved one's laid to rest.
And, when I tweeted that I'd pre-ordered her new book and requested a cocktail recipe, she totally tweeted me back, y'all. So I'm a fan.
At this point I should back up and mention that I'm Jewish. I know, I've mentioned churchladies and my mom's personal relationship with Jesus, but I converted almost 20 years ago. My ex is Jewish, though between the two of us, I'm the only one who belongs to a temple. Tink and Tweak are being raised Jewish. They're actually at Jewish day camp as I write. I light candles on Friday nights, I know how to make challah, and I sometimes go to services. I've been to Jerusalem and prayed at the Western Wall. I can even pop out some Yiddish when the occasion requires it. And, anyone who doesn't think I'm Jewish enough can kiss my tuchus.
It's fun to stand in two worlds and to see what kinds of assumptions people make based on who they think you are or should be. Because of my green eyes, small nose, Irish first name, and slight Southern accent, Jewish people often assume that my children are the product of an interfaith marriage, and they assume that I don' t know much about Judaism until I give them reason to think otherwise. Unlike Tablet Magazine, they're thankfully not dicks about it, though. It's also interesting that because of the aforementioned traits, people back home in North Carolina have no compunctions about assuming I want to discuss church, Jesus, and when Santa Claus might be visiting my children. And I'm not a dick about it when they do. I don't need other people to validate how I see myself, and I'm glad to see that Jennifer Weiner didn't let herself get pushed into that trap, either.
Bottom line, nobody can tell you who you are or what you have to say for yourself. That has to come from you. It's informed by your background and experiences, but everyone's voice is different. Religious upbringing, racial/ethnic/regional background, sexual orientation, gender identity, marriage, divorce, kids, education, jobs, metabolism, taste, sense of humor (which Tablet Magazine might want to look into) - all of this combines differently in every case. The bravest thing we can do is figure out what we want to say and say it.
By the way, if anyone has a Jewish grandmother who likes to get hammered, I have a whole bottle of Manischeweitz here that I'm definitely not going to be finishing. Bring her over; we'll kibbitz.
|Come over, have some coffee, we'll talk, no big whoop!|
McDreamy notes: "Overall, the cocktail presented a broad, if not brazen, presentation to the palate. The floral and herbal notes of the Jager were only slightly dulled by the tart sweetness of the Manischeweitz. The rum rounded out the experience by finishing on notes of sugar and a hint of dextromethorphan. It made me a bat, which hath eyes, yet seeth not. And I think I may have grown a second thyroid."
**A "shiksa" is a derogatory term for a non-Jewish woman, usually the one who wants to marry your son, the doctor.