My mother always insists on me hitting the Chabad if I need help. So I did.
The thing is, sure, I’m Jewish. Both my parents are Jewish, which makes me Jewish. But any time I’m around ‘real’ Jews, I feel like a total fake. Anyway, in my current dire straits, I was willing to put on my Jewish hat (so to speak, as I left my Chabad of Thailand yarmulke at home for the day).
So after a day of sleeping in, then visiting the site of my collège-to-be, I decided to hit the Chabad.
It looked closed, but there were guys in yarmulkes with long beards doing stuff with blowtorches on the other side of the fence, so I asked them (in French) if there was anyone to talk to, etc. Turned out the rabbi was out of town, so they brought me back into what seemed to be a compound.
People in conservative Jewish wear (long skirts for the ladies, beards and yarmulkes for the gents) and inside the buildings were various Lubavitch sorts of things. A huge picture of the Lubavitch Rebbe and long mahogany-looking tables with Jewish texts and trimmings on them. All the way down the little Hollywood set-looking street to the place on the left where I was passed over to a woman with a New York accent. They asked if it was ok if I wore a kippah (read: yarmulke). I said sure (and explained that I left my Chabad of Thailand one at the foyer (the hotelish place for working youth that I’ve been staying at). They brought me a New York ballcap, then a kippah.
She then proceeded to drown me with food to eat then, food to take home and some tea to drink before I went there. I didn’t argue too heavily. And she insisted, saying they had 10 kids, anyway.
I left feeling weird, as I had a loaf of bread, a box of Honey Nut cereal, kosher cookies and some other things (such as pears that were being squashed on the ride back). For doing nothing, other than somewhat belonging to this little exclusive club, I got free groceries (which was nice, even though I had already had my usual meal of cheap Camembert, a baguette, a liter of orange juice and slices of turkey or chicken).
(Now, mind you, they certainly pitched me coming for synagogue and Sukkot, too…)