Thirteen years ago, I attended a welcome meeting for incoming students at the University of Toronto, where I was about to start my graduate studies in linguistics. The conversation turned toward Jews and Israel and kosher food. One of my future professors, an observant Jew, announced: “In Israel people don’t keep kosher very much because they think they are Jewish enough without it.”
As the only Israeli in the room, I wasn’t sure how to react to that. Apart from the condescending undertones and the awkwardness of your people being referred to as “they” in your presence, I didn’t find anything offensive in her statement. Of course they feel Jewish enough without it, I thought; communities outside their home environment have to work harder to maintain their sense of identity.
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