Tuesday, November 8

Profiling

I grew up in a predominantly white area. I'd say Christian, but let's be honest, despite the hundreds of old churches, the UK is as secular as it gets.

At about age 6, a group of kids from Pakistan arrived, and they became good friends throughout my schooldays. Consequently I had a passing knowledge of Ramadan, and a little bit of Muslim culture.

There were no Jewish kids where I grew up. And I never learned to spot a Jewish name. For example, I must have been in my twenties before I realized that Steven Spielberg was jewish. I then presumed Bruce Springsteen was Jewish, until I learned to spell his name correctly.

My therapist is Jewish (strange, I know). And when he's not helping me sort out that final 1% of perfection I crave, he will often remind me of people who are Jewish. Last week for no good reason we started to talk about Vidal Sassoon. He's a Jew you know.

At the weekend we attended a party, and sat next to great couple from Marblehead. "She's a lawyer, and I work in PR", said the husband as he introduced themselves as "The Bergensteins" (slightly changed for anonymity)

The next 2 hours were a fun filled time of good stories and, with the benefit of hindsight, verbal, visual, social and behavioral cues to their Jewishness.

I didn't spot one single cue. Finally they mentioned their son's Bar Mitzvah, and it all slipped into place like the end of The Usual Suspects.

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