From Iceland — L’Chaim On Laugavegur

L’Chaim On Laugavegur

Published May 24, 2017

Before meeting me, most if not all of my friends here had never met a Jew. Sure, they knew Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and vaguely that Jews wore funny hats (Yarmulkes). The Chosen People, in their minds, were bankers and doctors and lawyers who bomb Palestinians (true, but I am not getting into that shitshow here).

Unlike black people or hijab-wearing Muslims, there’s no definitive way to identify a Jew in the wild. Some have big noses and curly hair—hey, they are stereotypes for a reason—but most just look like average white/Mediterranean people. Therefore, when individually each friend found out about my biblical birthright, it felt like Christmas. “OH MY GOD!! I HAVE NEVER MET A JEW!! TELL ME EVERYTHING!!” They would cry. Words like “Bat Mitzvah,” and “Shalom” elicited whoops of glee. Everything I had been embarrassed about my whole adult life and desperately tried to downplay became, I guess, cool. Being Jewish became a factor of my personality that people knew. For instance, when I walked into BlazRoca’s concert last Friday, he yelled from the stage, “It’s Hannah Jane! My favorite Jew!” Mazel Tov me.

This is a phenomenon most “minority” friends of mine in Iceland have also experienced. Minute details of their personality—any of which deviate from being white and Icelandic—become “cool.” They become interesting.
This year I went drinking with my friends for Hanukkah. They loved it. I loved that they loved it. I reclaimed and happily adopted the Icelandic term “júði”, which is a racist word for Jews. Also, as you know, I work in the media, which is all part of the Jewish agenda in Iceland. But I guess it’s working—I mean you’re reading this.

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