cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (srs bzns)
It's interesting both that Armitage wears a legit stereotypical hooked Jew nose prosthetic in The Hobbit and that so much fanart ignores it.

From many angles:

  • The visual references to Judaism in The Hobbit are no doubt inspired directly by Tolkien as the association between dwarves and the jewish people is widely known.

  • As such, they are almost certainly intended to be both subtle and respectful - see the changes made to alleviate the 'species-wide greediness' aspect of the story and instead to underscore the 'return to homeland' narrative, for example.

  • But in the context of Jewish references, adding a characteristic such as this nose is neither subtle nor respectful; having one of your references to a culture that is the object of an allegorical exploration be the well-known object of racist caricature seems like an OBVIOUSLY really bad idea (unless that's the point, but then you have to problematize it).

  • However, it's obviously still subtle enough to go over the heads of a lot of blissfully ignorant people.

  • So this situation manages to be uncomfortable both coming and going, because first there's Racist Caricature Face, and then there's the fanart re-whitewashing the character by eliminating it in favor of a straight one like the actor's.

  • It goes without saying that 'maybe that didn't occur to the filmmakers' is not an excuse because it's their job to make sure that it occurs to them, even though it is sadly not impossible (NB it IS an excuse for the fanartists. They're in it for fun and fannish love, not to make millions and not backed by a lot of mega corporations ultimately enriching Donald Trump or whoever. The fact that they genuinely lack the cultural context to recognize the racist caricature is genuinely interesting here).

  • It should be noted the nose prosthetics on many of the other dwarves are not Jewish noses, just as their iconography is very different - their styles of hair and clothing also relying on entirely different referents - but that Fili's, for example, is still bulbous, even though his and Kili's visual style follow Thorin's otherwise. Of course, that means that hooked noses can't possibly be a 'racial' feature of dwarves in general (though the foundation of the stereotype for Jews is also a bit shaky), so maybe that makes it okay?

    But no, it still has to be suspect for several reasons:
    1. The amount of design that went into the character. Not a single facet of his appearance is due to chance. The nose was designed. It went through multiple iterations.

    2. The symbolic significance of the character. He represents - stands for- other dwarves, and dwarfishness, on multiple levels, both metatextual and within the text.

    3. He is the locus of the most intense Jewishness references already - the exile and return, the quest, the daring warrior king.

  • For the title assertion, I followed a link from Wikipedia to here: The First Book of Samuel by David Toshio Tsumura
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
On the Ashkenazi side of my extended family, 9 members in 3 generations have lived past 50, and of those 2 have died of breast cancer and another's been in treatment for a few years (male breast cancer in his case). Now we've found out my aunt is entering treatment for it too, and she's only 55.

Statistically, this is troubling. (Personally, my aunt's prognosis isn't bad and the rest of the oldies seem sanguine, so I'm not TOO upset.)

Thanks to my atheist great-grandparents, though, neither of my aunts were even aware that we're Ashkenazi, hadn't even heard the term -- and naturally, her doctor asked her specifically since it's a risk factor. (I didn't learn it from my family, either, even though my dad knows; I think it came up in the genetics chapter of high school biology... .) I said "I can't believe they didn't know that!" and my sister replied that she didn't either. =_=
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Yesterday I read The Selective Amnesia of Post-War Europe by Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic, in which he reflects on Postwar by historian Tony Judt; the second pull quote was the one that shook me up the most:

Trigger warning: the Holocaust )

The article was obviously excellent. The information it contained was shocking and disturbing, as reading about anything connected to the Holocaust, or by extension Nazism, tends to be.

One effect has been a resurgence of my Jewish anger, which usually is not activated very much in Finland, with the deeply staggering exception of that time I found out that the public schools teach all the children who don't specifically opt out a version of Bible mythology which can be based on a textbook in which an entire chapter is dedicated to blaming ~the Jews~ for Jesus's death and painting Pilate as a good guy.

... And then I told this story to our friend who is a doctor of theology with a specialization in pop culture and a background in feminism, and also an active member of the state Church, because I wanted to know why the Church was okay with racism masquerading as doctrine in its tax-funded child education arm. And she said that's perfectly in line with the Church's official doctrine, that's how it was taught to her as well, and while it's not strictly accurate to what we know about history or to contemporary biblical scholarship, it does follow the text of John, it's just that some of the nuance was lost but that isn't a big deal, and well, they're just following the text. ... No I'm still not (EVER GOING TO BE) over that. (Please, before you say something, if applicable, think to yourself: SHOULD THE ETHNICITY OF MY AUDIENCE IN ANY WAY IMPACT WHAT I SAY? And adjust accordingly. Ie: 'Should I, as a citizen of a country that was however unwillingly allied with Germany during the second world war, say this to a descendant of Polish jews who emigrated as recently as 3 generations ago, leaving behind all extended family and any possibility of tracing it to be obliterated shortly thereafter?')

And of course, anger about anti-Semitism also awakens even more helpless anger that people are using the tragedy of the Holocaust as an excuse for the atrocities being currently committed in Israel. A couple of weeks ago I was at the Turku Art Museum and saw Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour's scifi short film Nation Estate, which was an incredibly powerful commentary on the situation in Palestine. (I looked pretty hard, but I don't think the film can be seen online in its entirety, even though it's only 9 minutes long. There is a trailer though.) It's a humorous dystopian film, but the emotions it provoked were intense and the reflections deep and depressing.

Even more depressing was the fact that the film was developed as her shortlist entry for a photography prize given by a Swiss museum, which abruptly withdrew funding when it found out the film's political subject matter and asked her to sign a document falsely claiming that she withdrew from the contest voluntarily. That was 2 years ago and she obviously got the funding elsewhere and finished the film, so that's something.

What seemed like the core of Coates's article to me was this paragraph:

National forgetting is always a selective endeavor. Italy had no more intention of dismissing its Roman heritage as "the past," than Americans have of dismissing George Washington as "the past." "The past" is whatever contributes to a society's moral debts. "Heritage" is everything else.

This resonates not just with Coates's introductory mention of the Civil War, but also with the yearly events of Columbus Day, in which a fictitious version of this greedy mass-murderer is celebrated for no particular reason while basically every historical detail of the actual disaster that was his presence on this continent is dismissed (or more often, denied). (Coates talks about "forgetting" the Civil War, but of course, it is also celebrated in much the same fictionalized manner throughout most of the South.) Maybe Hitler will get the Columbus/Andrew Jackson treatment after another century.

Read about history or even current events to drastically cut back whatever faith in humanity you had been storing up. Keep reading about it, or spend a while contemplating it, in order to take a brief submerging dip in a black well of despair.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
I thought "No, I'm Jewish" in Finnish would be a good phrase to get rid of various Christian proselytizers when I learned it a few years ago. The first time I tried it, it worked, I think perhaps mainly for shock value - they'd probably never encountered a real Jewish person and hadn't considered what their stance should be.

But last Monday I was in the mall and a lady came up to me and said something in Finnish that I didn't catch all of. [Actually, I thought she said "jacket", which was why I said "What?" in reflexive confusion, which was all the encouragement she wanted.]

Anyway, when I realized she was trying to talk to me about Jesus I instantly interrupted, holding up my hand palm out in the recognizable gesture for STOP, and said clearly,

"Ah! No, I'm Jewish. Thanks," and with that turned on my heel and walked away from her without making eye contact or waiting for a response. I thought I did a good job of adopting a firm and final tone.

I didn't leave the store, because I still needed to find a present for my wife there. I was a few displays away from her seething when like 20 seconds later she popped up again like a whack-a-mole and said,

"But can't I ask" (no pause to find out if she could ask) "What does that mean to you?"

What the - I mean, WHAT THE FUCK?

I was so offended on so many different fronts that I just kind of opened and closed my mouth, blinking, and automatically tried to answer the question. (When I'm angry my language skills deteriorate, so don't straight-up judge me on this!)

"Uhhh, it means that I AM JEWISH! ...And Christi-something... thingy... doesn't... listen" [I meant to say 'apply to', kuuluu, but I accidentally said kuule, which is the command 'listen [to this]'] " me... uh."

So then the bitch was like "DO you really speak Finnish?" and although I generally try to speak Finnish, and can manage conversations on most subjects as long as I am allowed plenty of grammatical errors, I happily took the out with

"Yeah, probably not sufficiently" and then I walked away again even more briskly and hid on the other side of the store until I thought she was gone before venturing back into the teacup section.

And okay, I know that being nosy is the essence of proselytization, but I'm pretty sure that "What does your religion mean to you" is a personal question that most people whose religion DOES mean something to them could be quite easily offended by, since by definition those are people who value their religion. (In fact, Jewishness does mean a lot to me, so the question is still rather offensive there; it just has only a secondary relationship to the reasons that I detest Christian proselytization, the most salient being my supernatural-free worldview.)

In fact, after someone gives a firm "NO", they have no obligation to explain themselves whatever. But trying to argue is even MORE offensive when the firm 'no' is connected to explicitly laying claim to a different, MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE religion. It's pretty self-evident that someone who does have a real attachment to one is not going to be open to you, no matter how superior YOU think yours is.

I kind of feel that a non-Christian religion is both a stronger 'no' and a case where it's even more offensive to try to press forward, because the philosophical divisions are greater in the first case, and because of Christianity's >millenium of oft-violent oppression and discrimination on the other.

Anyway, if it's not going to work anyway, there's no reason to give an off-point defense like "I'm Jewish"; and most Finnish people won't really catch the layers of implication because, as I have discovered, they tend to be under-informed about Judaism and its history, unaware of modern Jews, and actively misinformed in state-sponsored Bible school [flocked].

So maybe I should go back to Atheism. I obviously need a more strongly formulated response than just "I'm Atheist", though. (My BIL's "I worship Satan" would probably work better actually, but... I don't. The Spaghetti Monster would only work if the person knows what it is; otherwise they'd probably think they'd misheard.)

Basically I'm just trying to think of true or true-ish statements that are likely to successfully get them to leave me alone instantaneously without saying "Fuck you", because even though proselytization DOES piss me off enough that I could really mean it, it's not really their fault and they generally mean well.

  • No, I'm a Jewish Atheist lesbian. - This one might confuse them enough to make them stop where the individual labels wouldn't. But it seems iffy, it might just encourage them?

  • No, I only believe in things with scientific proof / No, I only believe in science and reason - Maybe?

  • Did you know that the more intelligent a person is, the less likely they are to believe in the supernatural? - Probably no more effective than basic claims of Atheism on reflection. But when I'm angry responses that involve calling people stupid appeal to me.

  • To a Jew, Christianity is just fanfic of Judaism. - Alas, this only makes sense if you know what fanfic is.

  • Maybe just
  • My beliefs are none of your business / I believe people's beliefs are their own business and proselytizing is futile and rude.

On the bus on the way home, though, I was really regretful that I didn't know how to say "How fucking dare you ask me that?" in Finnish, which was the response I wanted to produce immediately upon being asked what Judaism 'means' to me.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Dear Finland,

I'm getting pretty tired of the Star of David used as a Christmas decoration.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
I only learned about the existence of the electric hanukkia or hanukka menorah from The Social Network fanfiction.

I since found out that many of them are programed with little computers to make one additional candle light up each night of Hanukka, although the online shops assure me that they aren't intended for anything as irreligious as replacing the traditional hanukkia, but rather as a supplement. (That wasn't true in TSN fanfiction, though, and I suspect it also isn't true for lots of people, for convenience's sake, even if the living flame version is much more pleasant and cosy.)

Since I often don't eat a real meal in the evenings, and hence miss the candle-lighting these days if I don't have anybody over to eat with us, I've been meaning to get hold of an electric hanukkia for a few years, but when I got around to checking out prices online, even the cheapest one was over $30 USD, and it was (a) made for children and hence blue and white, (b) consequently looked like a toy, and (b) unequipped with the little computery thing in any case.

In general the electric candelabrum is a very common winter decoration in the Nordic countries generally independent of holiday/religion for obvs reasons, i.e. the fact that in the wintertime, the sun never comes out at all here. But they're usually equipped with 4 candles for advent, or 7 candles e.g. the symbol of Judaism since the times of Moses, although the white people up here don't generally know anything about that. The state church forces a lot of Bible study down their throats in elementary school, but apparently not the Old Testament, I guess. All bitterness aside, though, I thought I wouldn't be able to buy a proper 9-branched one because I didn't recall ever spotting one.

But! Then I spotted this one at Anttila! And it was only 17€ so I bought it.

Now I want to paint it before Hanukka. I don't find the white very festive. Obviously there's metallics, but I rather thought I'd like to use a color. I thought about a solid bright color, like lime green or aqua to mimic the colors of table accessories from Indiska like these but I don't like that style as much on simpler shapes. So then I was thinking about painting a gradient like you often find on hannuka candles like these rainbow ones or these:

Obviously blue and white is traditional, but my favorite tablecloth is green and my favorite memories of Hannuka are on my mom's red Indian tablecloth, so I was torn for a week or so.

Then [personal profile] waxjism accidentally fell on ColourMart's dick and bought five colors of merino/silk blend in rusty autumnal colors. These colors sparked my imagination and also reminded me of the broad autumnal stripes I admired last month at Marimekko on some knits:

Maybe a total of three broad stripes, say, plum, russet and a light honey color or sage green or carroty orange.

# painting things

* Hanukka is "Vihkimysjuhla" or "consecration festival" in Finnish and candle holder is "kynttiläjalka" or "candlefoot" - Finnish only has one word, regardless of how many candles are involved or how fancy it is. Hence, this is the translation I used when making a presentation about Hanukka to my Finnish class, although I also explained that in general the Hebrew words are used to talk about Jewish religious paraphernalia regardless of the language around them so probably "hanukkia" or "menorah" is what Finnish Jews would say (but I don't know them personally, and neither does the teacher).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Since I learned to say "Jewish" in Finnish (several years ago) I've been waiting for an opportunity to try it on door-to-doorers and see how well it works. I think Jehovah's Witnesses are actually supposed to preach to everybody, but there are so few Jews in Finland that in my experience in general Finns seem so flabbergasted by the idea that I was thinking it would probably be effective. And it was!

Once I realized they were Jehovah's Witnesses, that is. My Finnish is not up to actually reading what the pamphlet they handed me said. The lead JH tried to show me their spiel in Russian too! Hahah. It can't be my last name, which is Polish and German, so he probably thought I looked Russian, which is funny to me although [personal profile] waxjism says I do look a little bit Russian. Slavic, I guess, although to me it's more Polish.

But anyway, once he found the English language page I smiled regretfully but brightly and said earnestly, "Thanks, but I'm Jewish."

Then I watched as he and his partner blinked, he took a step back and said "Uh, okay" and I closed the door.

[sparkle] SUCCESS~~! [/sparkle]

(Brother in Law says "Thanks but I worship Satan" is also quite effective, although I've heard that "Thanks but I'm an atheist" doesn't have the same power. Wondering now about Cthulhu and the Spaghetti Monster. Or what do you think happens if Mormons try to convert Jehovah's Witnesses or vice versa???)

(Mmmmh, now I want spaghetti.)

Then I read the Wiki article on JH for the first time and discovered that they actually believe we are in the middle of the apocalypse, and that since October 1917 or something like that the world has been ruled in a global conspiracy by Satan and his demons, who were only kicked out of heaven at that point when Jesus took over. (They also don't believe Jesus is God incarnate, though, just his [sole] offspring.) Basically it sounds a bit like Supernatural since the Advent of Misha Collins. So... now I know that.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Okay, look, I see this all over fandom. ERIK IS NOT GERMANIC. He's a JEW from Germany.

"Germanic" doesn't mean "German-speaking" or "from Germany"; it means a specific ethno-linguistic group.

Most of the Jews who lived in Germany until WWII, including native speakers of Yiddish, a Germanic language formed by a fusion of German with Hebrew, were Ashkenazi Jews, a completely different ethnic group which originated in the Middle East.

For roughly a thousand years, the Ashkenazim were a reproductively isolated population in Europe, despite living in many countries, with little inflow or outflow from migration, conversion, or intermarriage with other groups, including other Jews. Human geneticists have identified genetic variations that have high frequencies among Ashkenazi Jews, but not in the general European population. This is true for patrilineal markers (Y-chromosome haplotypes) as well as for matrilineal markers (mitotypes).


A 2006 study found Ashkenazi Jews to be a clear, relatively homogenous genetic subgroup. Strikingly, regardless of the place of origin, Ashkenazi Jews can be grouped in the same genetic cohort — that is, regardless of whether an Ashkenazi Jew's ancestors came from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or any other place with a historical Jewish population, they belong to the same ethnic group.

...Which is to say, not to the ethnic group of the country they come from.

Most of this is probably coming from Michael Fassbender, who is half-German and half-Irish, freckled, ginger, and extremely Teutonic-looking. But of course, they were probably looking to cast someone with the general body-type of Sir Ian McKellen who could speak German. And for many reasons, there aren't a lot of Jews left in Germany.

People don't seem to realize how offensive (and ridiculous) this erasure of Erik's Jewishness, especially in favor of "Germanness", is. The ethnic differences between German Jews and the Germanic peoples were the very foundation of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the foundation of Erik's background and character arc. Confusing 'Jewish Holocaust victim' with 'germanic' is like... well... it's like confusing 'Jewish Holocaust victim' as synonymous with 'ethnically German'! [ETA There were of course many non-Jews killed in the Holocaust, including ethnic Germans, as I hope everyone knows. Of course, the fact that this post needed to be made at all suggests not.] It, the Holocaust, is the standard example of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and horrific inhumanity to which all other conflicts (no matter how insignificant) are compared.

So basically, FUCKING STOP IT.

A few more specific pieces of advice inspired by particular stories and kinkmeme requests:

  • Erik doesn't have a foreskin! Jews circumcise their babies.

  • Erik wouldn't be a priest! And he also wouldn't be a Catholic who tempts a priest. And that isn't "just a harmless kink" that somehow therefore, because it's kinky, has no bearing on his identity. Remember the Inquisition and the Holocaust? Remember the thousands of years of history in which Jews have been persecuted from place to place, repeatedly driven from their homeland, and forced to follow their own worship practices in secret under threat of death while paying homage to the gods of their conquerors like the Romans (who drove them out of Jerusalem and made them pay a Jewish tax) and the Catholic Church (who tortured them)? Yeah. that. Remember when this very same thing happened last year in bandom and there was a huge stink about it then?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (:X)
The textbook series is Himmel och Jord, "en finlandssvensk läromedelsserie" for elementary school grades 1-6 (ages 7-13ish), published by Fontana.

Today I watched the lesson "Jesus hos Pilatus", whose objective is that the students understand that Pilate sentenced Jesus "and the reasons why he did so." I was startled (and nauseated and shaking with rage) to hear that:

  • Pilate was a fair man who thought the Jews were being unfair to Jesus. He wanted to release him, but he didn't "dare" because he was afraid the Jews would use their influence in Rome against him. [Yes, because the oppressed religious minority no doubt had a lot of influence with the emperor.]

  • Pilate actually had Jesus tortured because he hoped that the Jews would feel sorry for him and come to regret their decision so that he wouldn't have to be executed.

  • When that didn't work, Pilate was like, what can I do? So as a last resort he decided to offer the Jews a choice between Jesus and a robber so he picked an infamous and cruel robber, thinking surely they would rather pardon Jesus, but the Jews were so angry about Jesus claiming to be the son of God that they yelled "Pardon Barnabas! Nail Jesus up!"

  • It was the Jews who set armed guards on Jesus's tomb because they didn't want him to escape! [[ profile] hollsh: Did a Jew shove him back in too? Really WTF...]

One of the pages in the teacher's book said "To Discuss" and one of the items underneath was why so many of the Jews were so happy to see Jesus arrive in Jerusalem that they donated their cloaks as a makeshift red carpet for his ass, but then became an angry mob demanding his death. The answer according to the textbook is that they felt betrayed because Jesus had not (in the intervening time which the lessons so far have represented as being like 3 days) led an uprising and freed the Jews from the Romans as expected.

Well, at first I was thinking I would wait until I could be alone in the room to snap some photos but then I got so upset during the course of the above lesson that I couldn't wait. I started by pacing around and trying to surreptitiously bite my lip, but finally I had to sidle up to the teacher's desk and pretend to glance casually over the book as she was still teaching, and take a few silent photos. I got the whole page of "Jesus hos Pilatus", but I was, er, a bit distracted, and the photo's so blurry that I wasn't able to transcribe it.

Meanwhile, I have a few questions for the Evangelical Lutheran Church's religious education department:

  • You realize that the Roman empire no longer exists, right? If you say bad things about them, nothing bad will happen to you.

  • Have you ever heard of something called 'historical context'? What about 'Bible scholars'? 'Anti-semitism'?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (dead)
Several people have asked me about hypothetical other people in my situation, so probably many people have missed the early post where I mentioned that Religion classes for elementary school students are opt-out. For the most part nobody should be unwillingly exposed, and that would also probably prevent most non-Christians from familiarity with the contents of the textbooks. My concern is not about Christian indoctrination or whatever, but about the apparently widespread and even official anti-Semitic slant to the misinformation given as a matter of course to small children, and still unquestioningly believed, evidently, by the adults.

The idea that the Jews were "guilty" for Jesus's death was something that, prior to coming to Finland, I hadn't encountered for YEARS other than as an ignorant/obsolete piece of propaganda or example of crazy Fundamentalism to laugh at. My point is, a) Christian scholars and historical scholars agree that that's not what happened; b) that's not what the Bible actually says; and c) no purpose is served by simplifying the story in this particular manner - which I hardly think is a coincidence in modern terms either1.

Anyway, today I accompanied one of the second grade classes, at the teacher's request, on an Easter field trip. It's kind of a "participate in the story of Easter" thing where they take a guided tour of some ordinary rooms containing people dressed in Christmas pageant-style outfits pretending to be witnesses to various parts of it. The relevant portions of the presentation were

  • There was a woman dressed as a soldier waiting for us on a green piece of fabric surrounded by paper trees representing the garden where Jesus was arrested, and she said that she came there and hid behind some trees for his arrival because there were "some people who weren't happy that he was saying he was the son of God".

  • In the sanctuary there were three paper crosses on the wall and a woman pretending badly to cry who said that after his arrest, Jesus was taken to some priests' house and accused of saying he was the son of God, because, she said, the priests "claimed" that anyone who claimed to be the son of God was challenging the emperor. And then she abandoned that half-sentence attempt at politics and just said that it was unfair because they said he was lying, but actually he is "of course" the son of God (I couldn't stop an eyebrow-quirk), so basically he was just being punished "because they don't believe him". Then she said that he was taken away by the soldiers from the priests' house. No mention of Roman officials, of Pontius Pilate by name, or indeed of anyone but "priests" and "soldiers" was made - the entire presentation didn't even distinguish between Romans and Jews or hint at the two ethnic groups/empire situation in any way. The impression given was that the priests were the governors or something and had the power to make such decisions unilaterally.3

I didn't have a chance to spy on the textbook to note down its deets today, but I haven't forgotten. However, I doubt the city's sole Swedish-language congregation is working solely from said textbook, even if by some chance they do own it, so the book is clearly not the whole problem. (Although, granted, "WICKED PLANS" and "THE RICH JEWS~~" was actually worse than just kind of glossing over the fact that the people in question were Jewish and, indeed, the fact that not 100% of everyone aside from the Evil Priests was a follower of Jesus.)

(By the way, I did paint a 6-pointed star on a blue hoodie last night; but I did it freehand and got carried away so, as Mirabella pointed out, it doesn't necessarily look like one at first glance. I should have used a stencil to do the distinctive overlapping/2 interlaced triangles pattern. However, I just want to note that I once pointed out a star of David to apparently it was some other Finn and not Wax, and she was just the one who explained that many Finns are completely ignorant of Judaism and the significance of the star as a symbol was probably simply foreign to them and she didn't know that it was a symbol of Judaism at all. Anyway, nobody reacted at all to my hoodie, so they probably didn't recognize it.)

1. It's almost certainly a political choice on John's part in historical terms, as the early Christians were very concerned with distancing themselves from the Jews since the latter were extremely persona non grata in the Roman empire - not allowed into Jerusalem at all, not allowed to vote, then finally allowed but charged a "Jew tax" at the polls, in punishment for "rebelling" against the Roman control of Judea2.

2. I've read like 10 or 12 hours' worth about this stuff in the past week thanks to this State Church/Easter nightmare, as well as seriously considering becoming a separation of church and state activist. But anwyway, most of the specific stuff is quite recent knowledge gleaned from Wikipedia and websurfing links and various experts I've talked with, so feel free to correct me if some of it's wrong. I wouldn't be exactly surprised.

3. NB: Yesterday through the mists of rage I made sure that the OTHER 2nd graders - BB's class - are not under this misapprehension. BB had already told them about the Romans, to her credit, but she was busy explaining how the fact that the priests weren't allowed to simply arrest Jesus whenever they wanted meant that they had to be "smart" and "sneaky" about it, and I was the one who pointed out that they were subordinate to Roman authority and that it was Roman law and the Roman justice system in effect, and Roman soldiers.


11 Apr 2011 04:59 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (stfu)
Today, I was once again reduced to wordless rage!

SOME KID: But why was Jesus crucified?
TEACHER: Well, that was because, you see, the Jews didn't really like the way that Jesus said he was the son of God. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah who would save them and they didn't think the Messiah would be that kind of person, like an ordinary human being like Jesus.


This is the same one who jumped in to answer the clueless one who wanted to know what Jews think about "our" Jesus (mostly correctly but without any special knowledge of the respect he's sometimes been held in since his death) - so volubly that I wasn't able to get a word in in order to come out as a Jew.

Now, it's not that I couldn't rebut this. It's more that I barely know where to start, let alone how it's hard to formulate Swedish when overcome with rage. Also any comeback would have to be both brief, and simple enough to not seem weird in the second-grade context, if you see what I mean. What SHOULD I have said, calmly and in brief, to correct this misrepresentation for a second-grade audience?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Pursuant to the misconception common to all the teachers on my hallway that Easter is the same thing as Passover, I've been toying with the idea of offering to help present the difference to the kids. (Keeping in mind that Swedish language uses the word Pesach ("påsk") to mean Easter as well, the confusion is understandable, particularly as the crucifixion took place during Pesach according to Christian mythology.)

You see, there's one practicing Jewish pupil, whose (converted) father is apparently the chairman at the synagogue, and apparently she's been invited to say a few words about her beliefs on the relevant occasions in the past.

So my idea was to point out the difference - my proposed phrasing would be something like, "Because the Jewish Pesach is actually the holiday about Exodus, you know, Moses and the escape from slavery" - and suggest that I could participate in said pupil's being invited to talk about it since Pesach itself starts on the 16th18th (that's the first night, even though my dinner party is going to be on the 25th or 26th, the last and 2nd-to-last night - which is totally abnormal, of course, but Wax is working on the 18th).

I'm just not sure about this idea, whether it would come off as weird or presumptuous. In the past when I've been uncertain about these kinds of things I've asked Wax, but she often says "Don't ask me, I don't have social skills either!" She does have a cultural advantage though. Nordic and Finnish people would better know if something is "weird" from their cultural perspective, and then there are bound to be people with good social skills on my friendslist, right? What do you guys think? Is it weird? Should I? Any advice?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Completely revised and up to date as of October 2016

Abstract. I am a (1) 33-year-old (2) USan (3) expatriate living in Finland because (4) my wife is [personal profile] waxjism who is a Finnish citizen. I am also a second-generation science fiction fan, a (5) voracious multifannish reader, writer and reccer with (6) 2 cats (Arwen & Russel Crowe) & 2 bunnies (Rowan & Japp), (7) socialist/green liberal politics, (8) social anxieties and other neuroses, and (9) a secular Jewish heritage which is important to me even though I'm an atheist. Also (10) my dad is quadriplegic and in a wheelchair due to a car accident when I was in college. EXTRA BONUS INFO: I like [ profile] fandom_wank, so if you hate that shit you can DEFRIEND ME NOW (TM [ profile] snacky).

Those 10 things in order, with a paragraph of elaboration apiece. )


cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)


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