The only good advice that your Jewish mother gave you was:
"Go! You might meet somebody!"
You grew up thinking it was normal for someone to shout "Are you okay?" through
the bathroom door when you were in there longer than 3 minutes.
Your family dog responded to commands in Yiddish.
Every Sunday morning your father went to the neighborhood deli (called an
"appetizing store") for whitefish salad, whitefish ("chubs"), lox (nova if you
were rich!), herring, corned beef, roast beef, cole slaw, potato salad, a
1/2-dozen huge barrel pickles which you reached into the brine for! ...or, a
dozen assorted bagels, cream cheese and rye bread (sliced while he waited)
...all of which would be strictly off-limits until Sunday morning.
Every Sunday afternoon was spent visiting your grandparents and/or other
You experienced the phenomenon of 50 people fitting into a 10-foot-wide dining
room hitting each other with plastic plates trying to get to a deli tray.
You had at least one female relative who penciled on eyebrows which were always
You thought pasta was stuff used exclusively for Kugel and kasha with bowties.
You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of seven.
You were as tall as your grandfather by age seven and a half.
You never knew anyone whose last name didn't end in one of 5 standard suffixes:
berg, baum, man, stein and witz.
You were surprised to discover that wine doesn't always taste like cranberry
You can look at gefilte fish and not turn green.
When your mother smacked you really hard, she continued to make you feel bad for
hurting her hand.
You can understand Yiddish but you can't speak it.
You know how to pronounce numerous Yiddish words and use them correctly in
context, yet you don't know exactly what they mean. Kinahurra.
You're still angry at your parents for not speaking both Yiddish and English to
you when you were a baby.
You thought speaking loud was normal.
You considered your Bar or Bat Mitzvah a "Get Out of Hebrew School Free" card.
You think eating half a jar of dill pickles is a wholesome snack.
You're compelled to mention your grandmother's "steel cannonballs" upon seeing
fluffy matzo balls served at restaurants.
You buy 3
shopping bags worth of hot bagels on every trip to NYC and ship them home via
FedEx. (Or, if you live near NYC or Philadelphia or another Jewish city hub, you
drive 3 hours just to buy a dozen "real" bagels.)
Your mother or grandmother took personal pride when a Jew was noted for some
accomplishment (showbiz, medicine, politics, etc.) and was ashamed and
embarrassed when a Jew was accused of a crime ...as if they were relatives.
You thought only non-Jews went to sleep away colleges..... Jews went to city
schools unless they had scholarships or made an Ivy League school.
And finally, you knew that Sunday night and the night after any Jewish holiday
was designated for Chinese food.