The scene: You’re walking through the New York City subway and are pulled aside by a Hasidic man or woman — who thinks you look Jewish — to talk about Judaism. Being approached by a fellow tribe member elicits strong emotional reactions. For me, these feelings consist of a mix between confusion and annoyance. I just don’t want to talk to random strangers about my religious beliefs. My beliefs are personal.
I also have very mixed feelings about being physically profiled as a Jewess, but that’s for a different article. That isn’t true of everyone, and for all that I know many people have benefited from this kind of of interaction. But if you’re me, below are the nine stages you can expect to feel the next time you’re interrupted when you’re just trying to get on the 6.
Stage 1: Confusion. Are you talking to me?
Stage 2: Awkwardness. Oh my God he knows I’m Jewish.
Stage 3: Irritation. For real?
Stage 4: Patience. OK just be polite.
Stage 5: Anger. Who is this guy telling me I’m not Jewish enough?
Stage 6: Resignation. I can’t believe I stopped for this.
This is typically the point where you get handed some small candles and the person offering them to you makes sure you know how to say the blessing.
Stage 7: Contemplation. Maybe I should light candles on Friday night? I like candles. Do I have time to make challah?
Stage 8: Prioritization. Forgets about the candles and catches the train.
Stage 9: Contentment. *Lights the little candles on Friday night.* Has a glass of wine and forgets to say the blessing until after the candles are lit. Shabbat Shalom.