Speaking to a person who is white middle class and in every way from the dominant culture. She said she was surprised that I was Jewish and that I do some of the religious practices and occasionally go to shule (synagogue). I get this often from liberal humanists who expect that everyone must be secular like them. In Britain today, secularism is as much a vehemently held "religious" position as any other form of belief system.

So I justified it. I explained that living as a Jewish person in this culture, you get a lot of negative stereotypes echoed back at you - whether it's Shakespeare or the newspapers - so I do religious rituals so I can keep in touch with the beauty of the religion, and not just react to the negativity of how its perceived. I don't think she believed me. She didn't look like she was even listening. She went on to speak of Israel- what did I think about that? I said that how Israel - the government and army, as opposed to every single Israeli - is acting is in contradiction to Jewish law. It is not because they are Jewish that they are acting in an oppressive, murderous fashion. She was not listening. She clearly didn't believe me when I said that anti-Semitism is alive and well in many aspects of daily life (which this conversation clearly illustrates) or that not every Israeli is a murderously racist person...

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