ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

jewish museum (jewseum?)

last night we went to this all-night party celebrating the opening of the new Contemporary Jewish Museum in san francisco. well, we didn't stay all night, but it was still pretty fun. among the weird/cool things to see:

- a live performance by the cambodian pop-style band dengue fever. (no, i have no idea what they have to do with judaism, or jews.)

- humorous modern interpretations of the mostly obscure 613 mitzvot (commandments) from deuteronomy, courtesy of this handy interactive website.

- a delightful exhibit about famed children's author and illustrator william steig. remember Sylvester and the Magic Pebble? (oh, and he was the original creator of Shrek.) his stories and drawings are so deeply rooted in my subconscious from childhood, it's almost spooky to see them now. but spooky in a good way. plus i got to learn all about his other career as a cartoonist for The New Yorker. awesome.

one slightly weird part of the evening was that i'm pretty sure a lot of the people we met/hung out with assumed that i'm jewish, which i'm not. i felt a bit like an impostor, a spy in their midst, laughing along (feeling secretly guilty) at the self-deprecating jokes about jews and trying not to look too confused at the casual references to unfamiliar religious traditions or yiddish words.

the most dramatic example of that was when we met a hasidic rabbi and his wife: i was rebuffed when i went in to shake his hand, because he can't touch women. ah. of course. (charming tradition, that.) they were extremely friendly and invited us to their house for shabbos dinner sometime, presumably with the idea to bring back into the fold a couple of secular jews. little do they know that not only am i a shiksa, but ongoing association with me will in fact defile the actual jew in the family. awkward! :-/


Post a Comment

<< Home