Is It Chic to Be a Jew on TV? (By Guest Blogger, Nancy Fingerhood: Who Unlike Me, Actually is Jewish)

Foreword by Nick Shell:

For the past decade of my life, I have been fascinated by the Jewish influence on American pop culture. Part of this is because I was thought I was part Jewish, on the Italian side of my family tree. But then a month ago, I took a DNA test through MyHeritage and was surprised to learn that not only am I not Jewish at all, but instead I am a little bit Middle Eastern.

But even more shocking… I’m not even Italian! Apparently, my “Italian” ancestors who moved here from Italy were a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian, and Iraqi… something like that.

So while I admit it’s a little sad to know that I do not share blood with the Jewish people, who I respect so much, I can still appreciate and acknowledge their influence and contributions to American pop culture.

In fact, one of my most popular blog posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, is The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld, which I published 7 years ago. It points out the fact it’s nearly impossible to name a sitcom in which one or more of the main actors is not Jewish in real life:

Ross, played by David Schwimmer, and Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow, on Friends

Jerry, played by Jerry Seinfeld; George, played by Jason Alexander; Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, on Seinfeld

Denise, played by Lisa Bonet, on The Cosby Show

Kevin, played by Fred Savage; Wayne, played by Jason Hervey; and Paul, played by Josh Saviano on The Wonder Years

Cory, played by Ben Savage, on Boy Meets World

Screech, played by Dustin Diamond, and Jessie, played Elizabeth Berkley, on Saved By the Bell

Considering that Jews only make up about 2.2% of the American population, I made it clear there is undeniably a disproportionate number of Jewish actors in American entertainment… and that’s not a bad thing!

Nancy Fingerhood discovered that blog post last week and took the time to submit to me what appeared to be a guest blog post. Even though that wasn’t her intention, I easily talked her into it.

So now, I pass the mic to Jewish writer and performer, Nancy Fingerhood…


Was the Alex Rieger character in “Taxi” a Jew? There are a couple of allusions to his religion. What about Gabe Kotter in “Welcome Back Kotter”? He did say the Yiddish word “yutz” once on screen, so probably.  While there might have been a reference or two to his Jewish identity, it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of many of the shows back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Today, there are a slew of Jewish characters and storylines on television.  Think “The Goldbergs”, “Transparent” and “Difficult People” (a show I found difficult to watch).  As a Jew, I should be excited about this.  But I wonder – in some of these shows is it symbolic of Jews being more mainstream or are they just easier to make fun of?

Let me pick apart one of my favorite shows, “Transparent”.  I do love it but some parts irk me.  “Transparent” depicts a culturally Jewish, yet non-religious family dealing with the patriarch’s revelation he is transgender.  He has three grown children and an ex-wife played by the actually Jewish, Judith Light.  Ms. Light does an extraordinary job of portraying the mother as authentically neurotic as my mother (sometimes I cringed when her acting hit so close to home).  Yet, I started to get annoyed by her overuse of Yiddish words.  She used “oy gevalt”, “fakakta”, and “mashugana” in one sentence (or some variant of those).  It seemed overkill.  Almost like a schtick to get laughs (pardon my Yiddish).

I loved the scene when the rabbi, Raquel, played by Kathryn Hahn (who isn’t Jewish but should be) has a conniption as the eldest daughter, Sarah, tries to prepare a makeshift Seder.  Raquel saw through Sarah’s quest for spirituality through Judaism as a sham and blows up at her, rightfully so.  Her outburst was one of the most genuine reflections on Judaism in the show.

Although there are moments of Jewish cliches in the series, they do show holidays and traditions up close.  I believe the religious facets are part of the story development, unlike some of the other series out there.  I offer my advice to sitcom writers – ask yourself are the main characters purposely Jewish to create a well-developed and nuanced character or a vessel for easy jokes?  I don’t want to feel used by these writers the way Cindy from “Orange is the New Black” uses Judaism to get better food in prison.

Seriously, is there a Jewish Renaissance on TV or a ploy for cheap laughs?  It just seems like it’s a more popular gag and people are getting on the bandwagon.

Oh! The Jew thing works!  Most shows focus on the Jewish kvetching and neurosis.  Maybe I need to watch more television (although my waistline says “I think not”) to find a sitcom that incorporates the culture and traditions. Comedies thrive on neurotic characters.  Perhaps that’s why writers are naturally attracted to that personality type and Jews seem to have a monopoly on that market.

I’m not sure if I’m offended or simply more curious about Hollywood’s interest in Jewish-ness.  When I get curious about intentions, I tend to wander towards a negative train of thought which make me a skeptic. Oh, how Jewish of me!

While I don’t balk at exaggerating stereotypes for the sake of comedy, it would be nice to see more than just exaggerated stereotypes.  It would be nice to see Judaism develop character and plot and not just be used to increase ratings.

Nancy Fingerhood hails from New Jersey and moved out to Colorado 13 years ago.  While she has been a writer and performer for many years, her filmmaking career began 4 years ago with the creation of the video spoof, Middle Aged Women Gone Wild.  After winning the Open Screen Night film makers’ competition in Denver in January 2014, she went to write, produce, direct, edit and star in the spoof commercial, The Fubra.  She again won Open Screen Night in March 2015.  Since then she has created many more comedy videos including her web series Mile High Nancy based on a single mother by choice who is an aspiring comedian and hosts a 420 friendly cooking show.  Several of her videos have been screened at The Emerging Filmmakers Project and Colorado Independent Women in Film festivals.

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Why Home Improvement is the Most Popular Least Jewish American Sitcom Ever

Are there any Jews in Home Improvement?  I don’t think so, Tim.

Did you know that May is officially Jewish American Heritage Month?  On April 20th, 2006 (my 25th birthday), President George W. Bush proclaimed that the month of May would be Jewish American Heritage Month from then on.  So this year for the 5th ever Jewish American Heritage month, I’ve decided to highlight America’s least Jewish sitcom ever, in order to contrast just how much Jewish people have affected our cherished American entertainment.

Obviously, the most Jewish American sitcom is Seinfeld.  And Second Place goes to Friends.  But on the opposite side of the spectrum, one might expect the least Jewish American to be an African-American sitcom- like The Cosby Show.  But of course, Lisa Bonet (who played Denise Huxtable) is half Jewish. Coincidentally, she was briefly married to Lenny Kravitz, who is also half Jewish and half black. Even more coincidental is the fact that Lenny Kravitz’s mother is Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons, who in the show was married to a white man, just like she was in real life (to a Russian Jew, Lenny’s father).

But other popular African-American sitcoms were still largely created and carried out by Jews.  Like Family Matters: no Jewish actors, but the show’s producers were: Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett.  Not to mention the fact that Family Matters was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, a sitcom about two unlikely roommates and cousins, who in real life are Jewish.  So even if none of the actors in a sitcom are Jewish, you still have to consider the producers, the writers, and even the origin of the sitcom.

After much exhaustive research, I have discovered that the most watched yet least Jewish sitcom was definitely Home Improvement (1991-1999). None of the actors were Jewish.  Not Tim Allen (nothing about him is Jewish), not Jonathan Taylor Thomas who played Randy (physically he could almost pass as a Jew), not Taran Noah Smith who played Mark (Jewish sounding first and middle name), not Earl Hindman who played Wilson, nor Richard Karn who played Al.  The main creators/writers were not Jewish.  Home Improvement was not a spin-off of a Jewish influenced show.

There was a close call, however, in the casting of Tim’s Tool Time co-host. Originally, there was no “Al Boreland”, but instead, “Glen”, played by Stephen Tobolowsky, who was definitely Jewish. But his prior commitments caused him to lose out on the role.  Sure there were special guest stars that were Jewish, like Rodney Dangerfield and Penn & Teller (Teller, not Penn, is Jewish).  And Brad’s character briefly dated a character named Jessica Lutz (assumed Jewish because of the last name), though played by non-Jewish actress Michelle Williams. Lastly, one of the executive producers was Jewish; Elliot Shoenman, but he was only there from seasons 4 through 8.

But if it’s that much trouble to point out any Jewish influences on a sitcom as popular as Home Improvement, then I see no way around it: Home Improvement is the most popular least Jewish sitcom ever.  And making that discovery is one of the ways I can help celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month.  I’ll leave it to all the other bloggers to point out the more obvious, influential Jewish Americans like Albert Einstein and Mark Zuckerburg. As for me, I’m here to focus on the petty stuff.

Below are some more exciting and entertaining posts I have written about Jewish entertainers:

Movie Guy, at Your Service: The Social Network (Plus, Which Actors are Jewish)

The Ethnicity of the Cast of The Wonder Years (Plus, Who Did the Voice of Kevin Arnold as an Adult?)

The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld (Yes, Most of Them are Jewish; Even Matthew Perry)

The Jewish Influence on American Entertainment

My 2nd Stand Up Comedy Routine: “Name That Jew!” and Why Baby Boys are Literally Like Monsters

You say “narcissistic” like it’s a bad thing…

It was less than a week ago that I realized something both bloggers and stand up comedians have in common is that in order to be good at what they do, they have to be narcissistic.  When that happened, I realized A) I am narcissistic and B) I should fantasize about being a stand up comic.  I am narcissistic- no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean that I think I’m better than anyone, because I can assure you that’s not the case.  I’m very aware of my shortcomings and faults.  It’s just that like any obsessive Twitter user, I am also very aware of myself and my own life.

So leave it to a self-proclaimed narcissist to not only publish their first stand up comedy routine, but now their second one today.  I’ve opened this can of Pandora’s box of ironic observations and now I don’t think I can stop.  I may have created a new blog series that you’ll eventually see at the top of this screen in big bold letters.  See, that may my friends, is what being narcissistic is truly all about. My apologies to those of you who have already read dad from day one: Mommy’s Little Monster, since that accounts for a decent amount of material here. Since delivery is a very important of actually being funny, note that for the duration of this post, when you see a set of ellipses points (like this…), that symbolizes the short and necessary pause for the audience to have a chance to laugh.

Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, will you please give a warm welcome to Nick Shell!

[applause]

“Alright, thanks everybody.  So I guess some of you tonight were invited by a friend who when they told you about me said, ‘He’s a Christian comedian.  You know, he does clean comedy.’  For those of you who have never seen a ‘clean, Christian comedian’ you may be thinking, ‘Ah, great.  He’s just going to be doing fart jokes the whole time.’  But I promise you now: No fart jokes…  Oh, wait… unless that counts as one.

Have you ever met someone who constantly inserts trivial facts into everyday conversation?  Do you know somebody like that?  Well, now you do… because I’m one of those magically annoying people.

I keep waiting for a chance for my super powers to come in handy in a practical way. Really, I think the best thing that could happen is that I could be a guest on a game snow… like ‘Name That Jew!’ You’d have to be the first contestant to hit the buzzer and yell out the name of the Jewish actors or actresses in sitcoms. And it’s hosted by Alan Thicke.

Alan Thicke: In my own sitcom, Growing Pains, name that Jew!

I buzz in, instantly… ‘Jeremy Miller who played Ben Seaver!’

That is cor-rect…  Next, in the coming of age comedy/drama The Wonder Years, name that Jew!

(Again, I’m the first one buzzing in…)

‘Fred Savage who played Kevin Arnold, Jason Hervey who played Wayne Arnold, Josh Saviano who played Paul Pfeiffer- he was half Jewish, David Schwimmer who played Michael- Karen’s boyfriend and eventually her husband, Ben Stein who played Kevin’s science teacher Mr. Cantwell, and lastly, Daniel Stern who narrated the show as Kevin as an adult.’

Correct again…

(And with getting that question alone I’m like automatically promised to make it to the final round.  So I make it to the final question…)

In the #1 sitcom of the 1980’s, The Cosby Show, which featured an African-American family, name that Jew!

Of course, without hesitation, I buzz in right away: ‘Lisa Bonet, who was half-Jewish, played Denise Huxtable’

Alan Thicke: Congratulations! You have won!  You and guest will be enjoying a wonderful 6 day, 7 night stay in the legendary city of Jerusalem, Israel where you will enjoy a complimentary gourmet kosher breakfast each morning…

Yeah, so I think that scenario is the best it could ever get for me being able to utilize my useless information.  Until then, I’ll just keep walking around like Rain Man: Got to watch Full House… Full House comes on at 6 o’clock, got to watch Full House… Bob Saget, Bob Saget… who played Danny Tanner, he’s Jewish… Danny Tanner was Jewish… Got to watch Full House at 6 o’clock…

So, let’s see, what’s new in my life- my wife and I just had our first child.  We have an 8 week old son named Jack…

[females in the audience say ‘ah’, while the males applaud]

Thank you, thank you.  I appreciate that.   Yeah, I always like it when people cheer and applaud me for having sex…  a year ago…

So the weekend after we found out we were having a baby, we spent 45 bucks on ‘cute clothes’ for Jack at a Carter’s outlet…  One of the outfits purchased that day says, ‘Mommy’s Little Monster’.  I’m sure this monster-themed attire was designed with the idea in mind of ‘oh, he’s such a messy little boy… he’s always gettin’ into everything…’.  But for me, I look at this whole ‘boys are little monsters’ as a literal thing… Boys are actually a wonderful representation of what classic monsters are in my mind…

So far, having a baby boy has totally met all my expectations as far as his lack of politeness: passing gas while people hold him for the first time- some of you just caught me doing another fart joke… and the way he also becomes the baby version of an angry, drunk, and ranting Jack Nicholson… the moment he realizes he’s hungry and we didn’t already have a bottle ready for him right that second… Not to mention the percentage of milk that comes out of his mouth as opposed to the amount that goes in and stays in… But I once was a boy- and in a sense, always will be a boy- you know, since [spoken in an Oprah tone] boys will be boys… Baby Jack is indeed a friendly, little beast.  He really sounds and acts like a literal monster…

When he’s sleeping, he often makes this ‘ghurr, ghurr’ sound…  And sometimes instead, the noise sounds more like the Smoke Monster from Lost… [make the sound]  It doesn’t help that he can’t actually speak yet.  How could I not be reminded of a monster when I see a little baby flailing his arms around during pretty much all of his waking hours who makes noises like that scary beast thing (R.O.U.S.) on The Princess Bride?… He’s a monster all right.  But a loveable one.

Yes, Jack is a little bit like the TV version of The Incredible Hulk mixed with Jabba the Hut and a Mongolian warrior. But the most adorable and cuddly version you could imagine.  I love having my own little monster around the house.  I will teach him everything I know.  And that, friends, is the truly scary part about this whole “monster” thing…

Alright everyone, I got to get out of here- my time’s up.  Actually, I’m not leaving. I’m just exiting the stage.  This had been fun, yeah?  See you next time.”

The Shell Diet: Kosher- Pork and Shellfish are Not Clean Nor Good For You, Even If They are Low in Fat

Eat like the Old Testament Jews did.

1) Why don’t Jews eat pork or shellfish but Christians do? Because most Christians that I know take Peter’s dream in the book of Acts literally to mean that it became okay to eat any kind of animal, after Jesus conquered death.  And it can appear that way if the chapter is not read carefully.  But when I read Acts 10 in its entirety, it’s clear to me that God gave Peter the “animals on a blanket” dream to represent to him that Peter should stop seeing non-Jews as “unclean” and start preaching to everyone, since the mainstream Jewish population rejected Jesus as the Messiah.  And by the end of the chapter, we see that for the first time, non-Jewish people trusted in Jesus for salvation.  And not just a few, but thousands of Gentile people were converted, because of the symbolic dream that God gave to Peter.  It was a dream God used to get Peter’s attention.

If it seems difficult to accept that Jesus dying for our sins on the cross didn’t also change the dietary law that God gave to Moses in the book of Leviticus, consider this: Why are so many people allergic to shellfish?  And why is eating pork the leading cause of people getting intestinal parasites?  Because Jesus dying on the cross didn’t change the fact that the bottom feeders, scavengers, and carnivores still eat the leftovers and the crap left over at bottom of the food chain.  Science didn’t change.  By eating these forbidden animals, we are eating lightly toxic food.

In short, eating Kosher means you can eat these animals: chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, cows, and fish with gills (tuna, salmon, tilapia, etc.). But you can’t eat these ones: pigs, ducks, rabbits, deer, shrimp, scallops, octopuses, sea urchins, or bottom feeder/carnivorous fish (catfish, sharks, swordfish, etc.).

2) And because red food dye is made from scale insects and/or petroleum, any kind of food containing Crimson Lake or Red 40 (mainly candy like Twizzlers and red M&M’s, Skittles, etc.) has ingredients that are not Kosher.  Kosher law does not allow anyone to eat insects other than locusts (which John the Baptist ate), nor does it even mention eating petroleum, but it shouldn’t have to, because it’s pretty clear to me: Petroleum is oil, not food.

3) Also, meat and dairy products are not supposed to be eaten during the same meal.  I’m not saying I never eat a cheeseburger and that I only eat vegetarian lasagna, but I just keep in mind that evidently meat and dairy products were not meant to be digested together, because it slows down the digestion process and promotes constipation.

*But wait, there’s more…Go back to the main page of the The Shell Diet by clicking right here.

The Hipness of Jesus Christ: Why the God of Christianity is Cool in Modern Culture

Jesus is not my “homeboy”, but He is pretty cool.

It seems that while growing up in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, the name of Jesus wasn’t really common (or acceptable) in mainstream entertainment.  Maybe it’s the fact that we as a nation are more aware now of the infiltration of different religions such as Islam in recent years, so we’re becoming more outspoken about Jesus than we used to be.  Because if we still are indeed a “Christian nation”, it’s Jesus we would need to be down with.

I do believe that the name of Jesus will always be offensive in the sense that He is the main factor that separates Christians (Protestants, Catholics, Messianic Jews, etc.) from other religions, including Judaism, as well as distinguishing those who simply “believe in God or a higher power” (theists).  However, I believe we are at a point in history and culture where “Jesus awareness” is at an all time high.

From Carrie Underwood’s 2005 number one hit, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, to Kanye West’s 2004 hit “Jesus Walks”, which only peaked at #11, but saw great commercial and critical success, to Mel Gibson’s (yes, he has gone crazy since then) 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, which become the 8th highest grossing movie of all time (at the time), the highest grossing R-rated movie ever, and the highest grossing non-English movie ever, America continues to prove that even in our desired choices of entertainment, Jesus is in demand.

Whether or not the average American truly believes and trusts that Jesus is the Son of God, it’s safe to say that the average American has at least a basic understanding that Jesus was put to death on a cross to redeem the sins of mankind, past and present.  And that He came back to life three days later.  And that during his lifetime, He performed all kinds of miracles, like walking on water, healing blind men, speaking dead people into existence, and feeding thousands of people from just a couple fish and loaves of bread.  Whether or not the average American believes all this to literally be true, they at least are familiar with these basic concepts.

Even if to the average skeptic, Jesus is nothing more than a respectable movie character played by forgettable non-Jewish actors with blue eyes, this black sheep of the Jews ultimately puts us all in a position to whether we have to either recognize Him as the savior of mankind, or dismiss Him as either a good intention or completely irrelevant to life.  Either Jesus is who He said He is (God), or He’s not.  Either we associate Him with the meaning of life and the afterlife, or we don’t.  And especially in modern America, we have so been made aware of who He is at this point; it’s just a matter of what we do with that knowledge.

I’ve thought about it, and honestly, even apart from the fact I truly believe Christianity is the answer to all our “meaning of life questions”, and that out of all the religions, it’s Christianity that is the “right one” for me (because let’s face it, out of all the religions in the world, only one can be right in the end when we die, so it’s important to pick one and stick with it while we’re still alive), apart from all that, even if I wasn’t a Christian, I still would vote Jesus as the “coolest god”.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (not a man) and a virgin.  Right off, that’s so scientifically impossible.  So I like it.  He never sinned; which is spiritually impossible.  I like that too.  His first miracle was turning water into wine at a really nice wedding. Cool.  He instantly stopped a really bad storm out at sea by saying, “peace, be still”.  The fact that Jesus went against the rules of nature is a major selling point for me.

Jesus came in the form of a Jewish man, who pretty much was a hippie type, who rebelled against the established religious culture of His day, challenging them to show their love for God to be authentic by taking care of the poor, the widowed, the unloved, and the sinners.

And based on the unproportionally high number of popular American Jewish actors and writers who we make rich in the name of entertainment, and based on the fact that just as many Jews who actually live in Israel who live in America (both Israel and America each contain about 40% of the world’s Jewish population), I’d say we Americans are known for embracing the Jews, whereas so many nations throughout history have rejected (understatement) them instead.

According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ is coming back to Earth to set up His millennial kingdom, in which all of us who believed in Him get to be a part of.  The way I see it, Jesus is not only the real deal; He just happens to be pretty cool too. But at the end of the day (and our lives), we will have made it clear through our words and actions just how relevant Jesus is to us personally.  And no matter how hip or popular (or uncool or unpopular) He may seem, we still choose in this life how important He is to us, for eternity.

“1985 I missed a plane, which then disappeared, never seen again.  You came to me Jesus, stood right in my way. You flew down from Heaven to save me again. Hallelujah, hallelujah.” -excerpt from “Stay with Me, Jesus” by Guster


Unnecessary Bonus…

Classic Books that Americans Love which were Written by Jewish Authors:




How Race and Religion are Connected and Why Isaac and Ishmael are behind It All

This is me in a video I made for you, which explains all this in a 5 and a half minute video, in case you prefer that over reading the 1378 word blog post below it, which I wrote 7 years ago.

Meet your great-grandfather Isaac.  Or Ishmael.  Or maybe even both…

How do you determine who ethnically is a “white person” and who is not?  Are Jews considered to be white?  What about Greeks and Italians?  And though Central and South Americans typically have tan skin, why is it there something about them still seems sort of white, as opposed to a person from India or China? These are some of the “side effect” questions that will be answered as I explain my theory on the origin of race and religion.

No, this theory doesn’t start with Adam and Eve.  Nor does it start with Noah and his family repopulating the world after the Great Flood.  It starts 20 generations after Adam, and 10 generations after Noah, with Abraham (the father of the Jewish and the Arab people), being promised by God that he would have a son in his old age.  After waiting and having no sign of this coming true, Abraham’s wife Sarah convinced him to sleep with their Egyptian maidservant Hagar, in order to have a son to carry on the family lineage.  At age 86, Abraham goes with his wife’s plan (like the way Adam ate the fruit after Eve convinced him to) and has a son with his maidservant- the son is named Ishmael.  However, 13 years later Abraham’s wife Sarah gets pregnant with a son, as God promised, and this son is named Isaac.

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Abraham eventually sends away his maidservant Hagar and his son Ishmael into the wilderness (Genesis 21:14), and raises Isaac his as true first-born son.  Today, thousands of years later, it is through Ishmael that Arabs and Muslims link their heritage through.  Accordingly, Jews and Christians trace through heritage back to Isaac.  Now we are in the meat of my theory.

As generations passed and both families migrated from their Middle Eastern homelands, the descendants of Ishmael moved south and east- to Africa, Asia, and America (becoming the Native American Indians in North America and the Aztec Indians in Central and South America).  In fact, the angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael “will live east of all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).  Meanwhile the descendants of Isaac moved north and west- to Europe, Russia, and eventually to America (killing off, running off, or marrying the Native American Indians).

Notice how today the countries that are represented by the descendants of Ishmael are generally practice religions that do not involve the Judeo-Christian God (worshipped by Christians, Catholics, and Jews) but instead are tied Hinduism, Animism, Taoism, Buddhism, Communism (Atheism) and Islam.  And of course the descendants of Isaac are matched to the Christianized nations: For example, Scotland is mainly Protestant, Ireland is mainly Catholic, and England is mainly Anglican (Presbyterian).

Almost 2,000 years ago thanks the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys to preach Christ where the Jews had already settled (in Europe, specifically the Mediterranean areas) and also the birth of Christianity as a whole, the countries that were already familiar with the Judeo-Christian God were basically the first to get introduced to Jesus as the Messiah.  As far as all the Ishmael-descended areas, like modern day Africa and Asia that were less familiar or not familiar at all with Christianity, they were not and have not typically been as generally open and accepting to “our God” as Isaac’s descendants.

The Ishmaelese Middle East

Ishmaelese Africa

Ishmaelese Asia

I do believe that whether or not a nation (or individual person) is a descendent of Isaac has much to do with their religion, race, and culture.  However, there are obviously exceptions.  One of them is Russia, which had been mainly Christian up until the point of its embrace of Communism.  Another exception is African-Americans, whom most identify with Christianity, as opposed to most Africans living in Africa.

And then there’s the “half breed” nations that make up Central and South America.  For the most part, their blood is mixed of Indigenous Americans (Native American, Aztec, etc.) who migrated from Asia through modern day Alaska, and European lineage from those who “discovered” America.  So in essence, the inhabitants of modern day Central and South America are half Isaackian, half-Ishmaelese; though they have accepted the religious beliefs of Isaac’s descendants (largely Catholic).  Read more about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

Yes, I did just now make up and use the words Isaackian (to describe the descendants of Isaac who are prone to believe in the Judeo-Christian God) and Ishmaelese (to describe the descendants of Ishmael who typically do not).  And now that you hopefully understand what those terms represent, I will begin using them frequently.

What started much of this thought process was when I recently began “Climbing the Family Tree” and realized that so many of my ancestors had last names that are Jewish (Schell, Klaar, Ullman, Wiseman, Vite) yet there is no solid proof that I actually am- only family rumors and tradition.  If I assume that none of the people in my family tree were Jewish, well, still, I have Jewish names in my family tree.  So that got me thinking, Jewish people and “white people” are essentially the same thing, coming from the same common ancestors.  Whereas someone who is Japanese (Ishmaelese) wouldn’t have last names in their family tree that would resemble a Jewish last name.

So going back to one of the questions I asked in the beginning, are Jewish people considered to be white?  Yes.  Though their homeland is Israel and though they are a Middle Eastern people group, they blend in with us Americans so well.  And that’s part of my fascination with pointing out which celebrities are Jewish.  Half the casts of Friends and Seinfeld are Jewish (The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld) as well as The Wonder Years (The Ethnicity of the Cast of The Wonder Years), but the fact that most of us don’t know which ones are or aren’t shows that despite most of us being a mix of European blood, those Middle Eastern descended Jews are still our cousins.

Of course ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of us descended from Isaac or Ishmael or how much blood we have of either (I’m around 12.5% Ishmaelese); it just predicts the tone of our skin and our traditional religion, according to my theory.  By no means do I see the Isaackians as superior to Ishmaelese for the fact that I myself worship the Judeo-Christian God.  But what I do recognize is what God himself proclaimed to Abraham regarding Isaac and Ishmael:

But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac, and I will establish my everlasting covenant for his descendants after him,” (Genesis 17:19).

“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly.  He shall become the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation,” (Genesis 17:20).

What’s most important from those verses I just quoted is that God promised to establish his covenant through the line of Isaac.  In other words, the savior of the world would come in the form of a Jew.  Not to mention that the Isaackians coincidently would hold the responsibility of sharing their God with the Ismaelese- that’s why Christian missionaries exist.  That’s why Christianity is now the largest religion of the Ishmaelese country of South Korea, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea#Religion

We all have the same great-grandparents at the tops of our family trees.  I try to imagine how different the world would be if Abraham wouldn’t have had a son with Hagar, if he just would have waited another 13 years for his own wife to become pregnant.  But he jumped the gun and changed the course of history (for him, it was the future) forever.  Though if he didn’t, I wouldn’t exist, being that my grandmother is Mexican.  Not only would I have not written this and you wouldn’t have read it, but there wouldn’t have been any of this to write about.

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I am the Human Spell Check

Bring me your misspelled words and incomplete sentences.

In school, I never studied for spelling tests (at least I never needed to) and I always got a “104” (perfect score plus I got the “challenge words” right as well).  The English language, as random and pieced-together as it is, has always made sense to me.  I wasn’t too bothered with the fact that the word “know” has a silent “k” (originally it was pronounced).  Nor was I ever really annoyed with the “I before E except after C” rule.

Somehow I’ve made sense out of the consistent inconsistency of our junkyard Spumoni language, borrowed mainly from our European ancestors- and also surprisingly from Yiddish, the universal language of the Jews, being that there are almost exactly the same number of Jews living in America as there are in Israel; accordingly, the United States has the 2nd highest Jewish population in the world.  Examples of adopted Yiddish words – bagel, klutz, schlub, schmooze, schmuck, shtick, schnozzle, tush, schlong.

And I’m convinced that my love of words has a lot to do with why I don’t really have a Southern accent, despite only living in the South (AL, FL, VA, TN).  Because I know how words are supposed to sound.  It’s not “ahss”, it’s “ice”.  It’s not “Toeyohduh”, it’s “Toyota”.  To speak in any distinct accent would be to stray from the standard American way of speaking.  I’m overaware of the way I pronounce words- only in rare occasions does a hint of Alabama come out of me.

I am the person in any given room who people ask, “How do you spell ‘initiate’”?  Then immediately, the word pops up in a translucent white font outlined in black, in my head.  I am that guy.  That can always save the day in times of a spelling crisis.  In college, I was the guy that all my dorm mates would bring their papers to for me to correct them the night before they were due.  And not only was it fun for me, but I took pride it doing it.

The downside of being a human spell check: I’m horrible at math and science.

The irony of writing about being a human spell check: I misspelled the word “spell check” in the title for this post by combining two words as one.  The real spell check caught it for me.

For a similar post by a similar but different writer, read http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/12/99-grammar/.