Jewish Manners

I just put “Jewish manners” into Google and expected no results.

I’ll never forget the shock of my first visit to a synagogue. Most of the people there were so short and ugly. They looked like they had just stepped out of an anti-semitic cartoon. Half of the crowd looked like trolls. And most of them had reproduced little baby trolls who were acting like Attila the Hun.

I learned later through my studies that hundreds of years of living in the ghetto had taken their toll on Jewish looks and for the first time in my life I began to fetishize shiksas.

My third shock with Jews was at how blunt and abrupt they could be. I was raised a Christian and Christians put a premium on niceness.

I remember the first time I stepped into an Orthodox shul, the rabbi threw me out because I hadn’t signed up in advance and gotten his approval to attend his conversion class.

When it came time for kiddish at shuls, I was appalled at how Jews would push and shove to grab their food. As a goy, I was trained to wait patiently in line.

A friend of mine teaches at a Seventh-Day Adventist college. She was giving a talk at a retreat on vegetarianism and this Jewish guy stood up and said, “In all of my life, I have never heard such nonsense.”

He went on and on. My friend just stood there in shock. Protestants don’t talk this way.

I’ve done some public speaking to Jews and to goyim and the goyim are a lot easier to deal with.

As Dennis Prager notes, Jews never pray before a speech that God will open their hearts and minds to hear the words of a fellow Jew.

A Jewish couple once visited me when I was staying with goyim. They had kids who ran wild.

Afterwards, my hosts said to me in that understated goyisha manner, “Jewish children are very boisterous, aren’t they?”

Go to a synagogue and go to a church and tell me which place is more reverent. There’s no comparison. And yes, I do think goyisha kids do tend to be more restrained in public.

I’ve been in Jewish life for almost 20 years now and I still can’t believe the chutzpah of Jews who close down a lane of traffic on Pico Blvd so they can run into a store, pick up what they want, and then run back to their car two minutes later and drive off with a hundred cars stopped behind them. Few goyim would do this.

I was telling some Jews over Shabbos that Jews, religious or secular, don’t seem to put much of a premium on manners.

They recited to me teachings on “derech eretz” but I was talking about the reality of Jewish life, not some of Judaism’s widely-ignored teachings.

I hear there is no word for “etiquette” in Hebrew.

I remember Rabbi Benjamin Blech telling the joke of a plane landing in New York in December and the pilot saying, “Please remain seated until we’ve come to a complete stop. For all those who’ve followed my instructions, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. For everyone else, I say Happy Hanukkah.”

Dennis Prager has talked about airline attendants have become borderline anti-Semitic from working the New York to Miami shuttle.

Jews are a demanding group. Because of my background, I have never sent back food in my life in a restaurant. I’ve never complained to a waiter. I’m a timid gentle soul. My every trip to a kosher restaurant is a learning experience (made much more pleasant when others pick up the bill).

Things that are of primo importance to Christians — niceness, manners, faith, hope, love, — are of secondary importance to Jews who are more interested in justice, law, and the practical realities of life.

I’d much rather someone be straight with me than drown me in banalities.

Dana Healy writes:

Last Friday, I knocked off early from work and headed to the multiplex to catch The Pacifier. Sure enough, as soon as the lights go out, a pack of Jews waltzes in and plunks down right in front of me! All through the first preview, they had to have a Jewish debate about where to put their coats and who should hold the Twizzlers. What’s wrong with these idiots? If you want to chat, go to a coffee shop, or that Jewish community center down on Cavendish Avenue.

Where did these people learn to whisper? An Israeli helicopter?

I sure didn’t pay $10 to listen to a group of twits talk back to the screen like those obnoxious Jewish robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000! And apparently, “God’s chosen people” weren’t selected based on their ability to follow plotlines. No wonder they wandered the desert for so many years—they can’t even watch a Vin Diesel movie without getting lost.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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