Thursday, August 3, 2017

Now 2% Less Jewish.

I’m not a self-hating Jew culturally – it’s the religion that doesn’t do it for me. It’s nonsense. I mean, God talked to the Jews like 500 times in the Old Testament, and there wasn’t one warning about the Nazis.

My results from Ancestry.com have come in, and while I had my fingers crossed for some non-whiteness, there wasn’t any, although I do like the smidgen of Italian/Greek/Irish. Overall, the data confirmed much of what I already knew: I’m mostly Polish, with some Russian.

A few observations:
  • I forwarded the results to my brothers, and I like the fact that only the three of us share this exact ancestral mix. Sure, we grew up in the same house, breaking our mom’s antiques together, but this is a new kind of bonding. 
  • The site lists long-lost relatives of mine who have also had their DNA tested. I have 10,904 matches that are fourth-cousins or closer. The roster reads more Jewy than my Bar Mitzvah graduating class. (Shout-out to my newfound third-cuz, Samuel Sheltz.) 
  • The cousin database is searchable, so I checked if any of mine live in LA. None do, so in some unexpected good news: I have not unknowingly fooled around with a cousin. 
  • Yeah, there’s a stronghold on Judaism in the Shevin family, but my big brother married a half-Jewish, half-Middle Eastern woman, so my niece and nephew are our only hope. 

A clarification:
For all my self-hatred talk, I mean it when I say it’s mostly the religious aspect that repels me. All religions have that effect on me. But as for the cultural side, I will say this: I grew up in the waspiest suburb of NYC, yet my two closest friends from there are Jewish. (We’re still very close. We all met in Chicago last month to see the Yanks play.) And, ironically, my godfather is a rabbi. He was actually the cool, funny rabbi, a Billy Crystal type, who unfortunately moved his family to Israel when I was three. Maybe if he’d stuck around I’d have tolerated temple a little more. When he did return for a visit when I was eighteen, he told me, “I still have the bruises on my shins from you kicking me.” Also, for some inexplicable reason, as a child I affectionately referred to his wife (my godmother) as “Meatball”.

So this was very cool, and I shouldn’t have waited so long to have it done. If you have 99 bucks and a little saliva to spare, I highly recommend you learn your ancestry. You may get a nice surprise. Or a horrifying surprise. (See cousin-sex, above.)

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