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What’s in your Judaica shop?

judaicaBy The Mrs.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from flipping back and forth between coasts, it’s that the local Judaica shop is a good reflection of what kind of Jews you’ll find there. I’m not just talking about the comparison between Crown Heights and Flatbush and their respective Rebbe pictures. (By the way, you can definitely find pictures of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Flatbush, just not staring at you from all sides. Just when you think you’re innocently perusing a book in Crown Heights, BAM! a Rebbe picture disguised as a bookmark jumps out at you, making you feel all guilty about flipping the pages looking for references to masturbation or some other juicy material like that).

What I’m actually referring to can be explained only by the telling of my first Judaica shop visit here in the San Francisco Bay. After my new husband tried desperately to convince me that the transition from New York would be a smooth one by trotting me past a very small kosher market (one of only two in the area, and FIFTY miles from the next one), he took me to what was supposed to be the crown jewel of Judaica stores. I walked in to see (no joke here) a transvestite at the register and mostly only vaguely Jewish items like the holy sefer “How to Raise a Jewish Dog”, interspersed with just a few legit ritual items. I begrudgingly purchased a washing cup from the tranny, shut myself up in the car, and sobbed my eyes out, howling that I wanted to go back to New York. NOW.

I won’t go into the fact that the words “Jewish Community Center” actually translates to “place to sit in the shvitz with nothing but Chinese women”, or how my husband understandably mistook a benscher from twin brothers’ bar mitzvah as coming from a gay Jewish wedding. Let’s just say that it was a rough transition indeed. The only way to truly avoid the horror is to order discount Judaica online. How else am I going to get those heavyweight velvet challah covers in plastic that work so well to put out smoke alarms when the need arises? Or a silver Kiddush cup without a rainbow electroplate finish?

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran October 16, 2013, 8:33 AM

    Your new husband?
    Heshy, is there something you’d like to share with us?

    • Alter Cocker October 16, 2013, 10:50 AM

      Heshy’s wife is writing. What’s the source of your confusion?

      Although her line about flipping pages perhaps means she and Heshy have a lot in common?

      • Heshy Fried October 16, 2013, 10:52 AM

        Nuran is just fooling

        • Alter Cocker October 16, 2013, 12:40 PM

          I suppose Nuran no longer considers you new.

          • The Mrs. October 16, 2013, 4:18 PM

            My dearest forgot to say that he didn’t write it at first, so Nuran did have a point there…for a moment. 😉

            • A. Nuran October 17, 2013, 10:54 PM

              And that’s what happened. It actually makes sense either way.

  • Mattjew October 16, 2013, 9:23 AM

    “Transvestite” and “tranny” are both hella offensive and btw you’re in San Francisco, get used to it.

    • The Mrs. October 16, 2013, 10:32 AM

      Oh? And what is the preferred nomenclature then?

      Nobody said it was in San Francisco, dear.

    • Heshy Fried October 16, 2013, 10:43 AM

      Oh we’re “used” to it, since when did Tranny become offensive, plus the piece was about adjusting to the environs.

      Considering the fact that not one of my personal tranny friends has said that they are offended, nor has anyone emailed you. I’ll chock it up to one of those super sensitive people that assumed Black is also offensive, while I find African American to be offensive.

      • Surprised you're defending this October 16, 2013, 12:01 PM

        Wrong. See: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

        For the issue of how sometimes trans people use the word themselves, which is similar to “but my friends call each other n*****r and the gays call each other f*****t””:

        This is not supersensitive people or being pc. It’s known to be a slur, whether you or the Mrs. realized it. Not sure why you feel the need to defend this instead of accepting that maybe it was a mistake to use the term.

      • The Mrs. October 16, 2013, 12:20 PM

        I just checked with my transgender friend, and he told me that the only time ‘transvestite’ becomes offensive is when someone misuses it to describe a transgender person (someone with a gender reassignment). I’m going to side with his opinion.

    • David October 16, 2013, 10:56 AM

      It kind of depends where you live, no? Where I live, some transgendered folk use the term “transvestite” to refer to themselves. Its accurate for cross-dressers, but not necessarily pre-or-post operative transsexuals who wish to make a distinction. It depends on the specific person and their preferences, and the local community. Hereabouts, many people in the “T” of LGBT use the term “Tranny” themselves. I know this because I work in an extremely liberal office with some very colorful folk. You have to ask *them* what *they* prefer.

      When I was in university we had “Negro,” “Black” and “African American” student groups on campus and they could not agree on what the rest of us were to call them – and got pissy when we used the wrong term. One of my professors – a Chinese woman – finally got so frustrated she ordered the African American students in her class to take a vote on what we would go with for the duration of the course.

      Someone will be offended no matter what terminology you use. Being offended on other people’s behalf often results in being more catholic than the pope, or more lubav than the rebbe, or more OTD than Elisha Ben Abuyah, or whatever.

    • Alter Cocker October 16, 2013, 11:01 AM

      Neither one is offensive.

    • David October 16, 2013, 1:29 PM

      In my town, people from the T in the LGBT community use both “tranny” and “transvestite.” Some prefer transgendered. Some prefer transsexual. And none of them appear capable of agreeing on what is preferable. And, yet, they don’t seem offended if you don’t use their preferred term out of the gate. I know this because I work in a very left-of-center office filled with, let us call them “colorful,” indiwiduals. Being offended on someone else’s behalf also results in the ironic posture of being more Catholic than the Pope, or more Lubavitch than the Rebbe, or more OTD than Elisha b. Abuya, or whatever.

  • justjano October 16, 2013, 10:30 AM

    You read my mind Mattjew!

  • Anonymous October 20, 2013, 11:25 PM

    “I won’t go into the fact that the words “Jewish Community Center” actually translates to “place to sit in the shvitz with nothing but Chinese women”” — this part is actually kinda funny, coming from someone who was born a goy. Does Laura also feel uncomfortable around her goyishe parents or just Chinese folks (who could be Jewish-born, unlike Mrs Fried)? 😉

    • Alter Cocker October 21, 2013, 8:49 AM


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