Jessica Gottlieb

I am not (often) a narcissist

It’s Good to be the X-Mas Jew

with 5 comments

If you’re a Jew you intrinsically know the import of the Shabbat Goy. The Shabbat Goy buys your dog for a dollar and a handshake so that it can continue living in your home and eating traif. The Shabbat Goy, for another dollar, will buy all your Chametz before Pesach and sell it back to you at the end for the same dollar. The Shabbat Goy is an integral part of every Shul, and spoken about with a grin in every Jewish home. We are people of the book, and we love taking notes in the margins.

This week, I find myself loving the role of the X-Mas Jew. I wander from home to home bringing a bit of cheer and no expectations. None. I waltz in the door well rested, because my children didn’t need to get up at Still Dark O’Clock to greet Santa and his Reindeer, and have a glass of wine. I giggle and meet a few new people, listen intently to the family pathology and think, “Oh, this is so familiar.”

I’m the X-Mas Jew. I bring nothing to the table spiritually. I have no traditions nor expectations. If it’s a pot luck I bring whatever is requested of me, no more and no less because I’m unfamiliar with the rules.

I make it a practice to break only the rules I know intimately.

If your day is religious I will bow my head when you do and whisper Amen with a congregation. The incense burnt at Mass smells curiously like that of Havdalah. It’s comforting to know just how close we all are.

X-Mas for the Jew is perfectly delightful as we prance from celebratory tree trimming to duplexes with retro porn and pitbulls. My husband, the children and I land right in the middle of families born and families created, some wacky, others staid, but we are squarely in the middle of traditions that neither repel nor draw us in.

It’s really quite a treat to be the X-Mas Jew.


Written by Jessica Gottlieb

December 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I know what you mean about being the Xmas Jew, always a little awkward for not knowing the traditions, observing and participating, but not really getting it. One difference between the Xmas Jew and Shabbos Goy, is that we don’t really get a special job that everyone depends on.


    December 26, 2008 at 9:54 pm

  2. Oh, if only you lived close enough to have celebrated this thing we call a holiday with me and my created family.

    I’m still (or maybe finally) creating my family while my actual family is showing up in odd places. I won’t go into all that just now, but it’s at the holidays and is weird.

    I don’t know what I’m celebrating when this season rolls around, but everyone else is going with one or the other, so I feel as though I should.

    Love, family, something . . . I hope yours was/is awesome and continues to be.


    December 27, 2008 at 1:16 am

  3. Jessica — “It’s comforting to know just how close we all are.” Amen, sister. Amen.


    December 27, 2008 at 5:30 am

  4. If I practiced a religion, I think it might be Jewish. It goes back to doing Fiddler when I was 9. I think you’re more comfortable with Xmas than I am! Kudos.


    December 28, 2008 at 9:23 am

  5. I would love to observe others holidays without having to do all the messy work.

    I love your take on the holiday.


    December 31, 2008 at 12:28 pm

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