Here are some things I’ve notice since I’ve started my jewish education.
1. At first I thought my friend Jay needed a self-esteem boost. I took him to a party and every time he introduced himself he said, “I’m Jay, by the way.” As if it was a side note and not that important that he was Jay. I’ve started to pay attention and a lot of the jews at shul and socially introduce themselves by saying “I’m STATE YOUR NAME, by the way” or “By the way, I’m NAME HERE.” Why is that?
2. On any dating website, a guy might post a photo of him with his buddies, with a hot girl, with his dog or car. On JDate, because the focus is marriage, they post photos with Mom, with nieces and nephews, in tuxedos and other things that scream MARRIAGE and not just FUN TIME. No guy on Match.com posts a photo of him holding a newborn baby, not one.
3. Jewish families are louder than Christian families. All the kids talk all the time, but not in a bad way or a “me, me, me” way. Just a ton of energy and they have the chatty-chatties. I sometimes ride with a family and the daughter (about 7 or 8 or 6) will have a conversation with the parent sitting diagonal from me and none of the conversations stop. I love it.
4. Temple is a loud place. I read about it, maybe in Choosing a Jewish Life. Because if you’ve grown up sometimes (or always) going to church, people chatting during service it a little disconcerting. Then you learn that it is worse to ignore a greeting and keep stop praying than to stop the prayer and greet the person.
5. There are no single jewish men who go to reform temple every shabbat in Chicago. I checked on Jdate. NONE.