Met a guy last night: White Australian, from a non-specified and perhaps irreligious Christian background (ie dominant culture).
He asked me a series of question about Judaism. On the surface they might have seemed like open questions, searching, interested in their subject. But they weren't. It was a very familiar line of questioning which brought me back to my past. I experienced this often as I grew up in Australia and have never experienced it anywhere else.

There is a ostility and a set of assumptions behind the questions which isn't being directly addressed. I was asked where I lived ( I realise now to see if it conforms to the stereotypical Jewish (and / or) rich areas. I was asked about the conversion in Judaism, whether there is anyway to shorten the famously difficult procedure. He asked pointedly whether you could buy a conversion. He used the word 'elitist' to describe the religion, in passing.

Again the subject of the Chabadnicks (the proseltyising sect within the ranks of Orthodox Judaism) came up. K had experienced an evangelical moment on a tram when she was invited to attend a Candle Lighting Ceremony. (What are those guys doing?!?) Half jokingly, they were defended as the card-carrying Jews. I should be proud of them, I was told. How do you explain that Judaism is something different to me, that I will be proud in ways that I choose. That the pride I came to in my ethnic background was hard-won given the levels of anti-semitism and will never be based on the Chabad movement... or on someone telling me to be proud. Ironic given the hostility I had received earlier.

This entry,like all the diary entries, is subjective. Others may record these events differently.

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