The Jewdas guide to getting the best out of relations – between the liturgical sheets
Christmas is once again upon us, when the god of the goyim inexplicably commands his followers to hang garishly bright-coloured lights in shopping centres, watch movies about the Second World War and ritually sacrifice large birds.
For Jews, both secular and religious, this time of year can be a bit of a minefield, as we either pretend we’re doing it, pretend we’re not or make out like we’re doing it a lot more than we really are. It’s a confusing period. We’re surrounded by Christians, but there are so many questions we’re just too embarrassed to ask.
I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve had a lot of interfaith. OK, I’m no Jonathan “Lord” Sex, but I’ve had a fair bit. David Cameron might well call me a maso-sadist, but nothing gets me hotter under the collar than a spot of mutual religious deliberation.
Other people duck their heads when they see evangelists preaching in the street. I’m what’s called “a chaser”. Here’s my guide for Jews on how to have amazing interfaith with every kind of Christian that might want to do it with you.
Church of England
Who they are: Engerland! Cricket, football, fields and beer! It’s even got its own church! Originally set up so a Tudor king could get a divorce, they’re now the state-sanctioned guardians of family values. Friendly, twee churches, with hippies at the helm and a close proximity to the Establishment. They’re all milky tea, cupcakes and take-it-or-leave-it religion. Basically Liberal Judaism, but with more Hebrew.
Famous Angerrlicans: The Queen, Prince Harry, Princess Anne, Henry VIII, English Jesus
Divine diddling: These guys are perfect for that soft-touch, superficial, stroke-the-surface interfaith. Make some non-committal comments about peace on earth and different paths to the same destination. They’ll melt like butter on crumpets.
Raunchy religioning: Step it up a bit with some dull wrangling over problems like why an all-loving god would make volcanoes, and pretend you don’t think volcanoes are actually pretty cool and you can see exactly why an all-powerful being would make them. They’ll feel like they’ve connected with you on a deep, deep level.
Who they are: They started out in Italy and have spread a Mediterranean love of melodrama, sex guilt and good cooking throughout the world. You’ll find their houses strewn with more crucifixes than the biggest vampire fanatic and, fuck, can they dance. Like the best Orthodox synagogues, these guys really know how to put on a show, complete with incense, fancy dress and esoteric chanting in dead languages. They’re the mirror of us we’d rather not see.
Famous Catholics: Sinead O’Connor, Lady Gaga, The Pope (needs confirming), Suffering Jesus
Theological Foreplay: “Hey you feel guilty about shit you have no control over? Me too! Let’s get all guilty together.” This could be the start of something beautiful.
Prostrate prostates: Do something really naughty like eating pork together on a Friday. Or, if you’re both devout, and not into that kind of kink, how about a bit of light flagellation? Those guys are into it too.
Who they are: They started out as egalitarians with biscuit factories and shoe buckles. They’re now eco-pacifists who wear keffiyes and sit round in a circle silently contemplating existence and waiting to be inspired to speak by a heavenly presence. Like really soft-spoken Guardian readers.
Famous Quakers: The Oats Guy, Richard Nixon, William Penn, Quiet Jesus
Start sexy: Sit in silence for a bit. They love that shit.
Ramp it up: Why not try sitting in silence some more?
Godgasm: If you’re from Stoke Newington, you might find some common ground swapping quinoa recipes or talking about cycling routes. Otherwise, best to sit in silence.
Who they are: Also known (by themselves) as the Church of Latter Day Saints. Strapping blokes in starched shirts with pristine American smiles, who can charm you into believing almost anything. You’ll find them knocking doors in residential areas to promote an even newer version of the New Testament, where Jesus comes to the USA to hang out for a bit.
Famous Mormons: Mitt Romney, some of the characters on South Park, American Jesus
Let’s get it on: So it turns out we actually get a mention in their big book and they quite like us. They see themselves as adopted members of the Tribes of Israel. So, we’re already pretty well-connected. Talk to them about that to make them totally giddy.
Full-frontal philosophy: I got into some pretty hardcore interfaith with a pair of Mormons last year and found out that they think G-d’s living up on another planet, taking names and kicking arse like an extra-terrestrial Santa Claus. They reckon some day G-d’s going to teleport them sci-fi style up to His kingdom in the sky. Ask them about the logistics of that shit. They might, however, remind you that your religion says you’re going to be transported to Jerusalem by the Messiah when he comes back in a fiery chariot, and ask you if you’re planning on taking your hubris with you.
Who they are: If you like singing in American-style churches or Christian rock, then these guys are definitely for you. Don’t bother looking for them, they’ll find you. These balls of sunshine are very into converting and Jews get them bonus points, so expect a very warm, smiley attempt to steal your soul. I’m not even joking, these guys collect souls like they’re Pokemon cards.
Famous Baptists: Jesse James, Chuck Norris, Martin Luther King Junior, Baby Jesus
Getting touched by the Holy Spirit: They’re all about the love, so ask them about their relationship with Jesus. They’ll go all gooey and tell you about how nice he is, how loving he is and you’ll be able to watch them salivate over their Freudian godhead.
Oh yeah, feel that spirit: Then tell them about how pissed off, twisted and vengeful your god is, because they need to hear it from somebody.
Who they are: Forget everything you know about Christians. These guys hate Christmas and don’t have birthdays. They’re super dour, opposed to gambling, smoking, drinking, heavy breathing and anything that might raise the heartbeat a fraction. Like Gordon Brown on a double-dose of boring. They’re also surprisingly cool, and willing to go to jail for it all. Tonnes of them are sitting in Turkish jails as conscientious objectors.
Famous Jehova’s Witnesses: Michael Jackson, the rest of the Jackson Five, Ginger Spice, Anti-Hypocrisy Jesus
Self-congratulatory innuendo: So these guys are cool, but their religion is pretty hellfire and damnation, so forgive them if they’re a little bit pushy. For them, only their sect gets into Heaven, and, even then, not all of them, so don’t be upset if they’re really desperate to recruit you. It just means they like you.
Who they are: Trotsky, Harry Potter and Ayn Rand might not have believed in G-d, but those guys were Jewy Jewish Jews. A few Brits might have signed up to the cult of believing in nothing, but they celebrate Christmas, compete with Jews and endorse bombing Muslims like the best fundamentalists. Whatever they believe in, Christian Atheists are definitely out there, and you don’t need to look far to find them.
Famous Christian Atheists: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Jesus
Rational romping: Christian Atheism has a long, complex history and a rich, vibrant culture. But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say they’re all cunts. They might not believe in Christian god, but they actually hate Adonai. And they really hate Allah. All of them. Tell them they’re going to Hell and watch them explode with self-righteous rage. They don’t need to know you don’t believe in Hell. Sometimes it’s just nice to give people what they want. It is the season, after all.
Who they are: More than just a punchline at a simchah, these guys actually exist and have real thoughts and feelings. Which makes it even more fun to take the piss out of them. They’re mostly motivated by wanting to hedge their bets. They’ll keep up Judaism in case Messiah hasn’t come yet, and they’ll go to Church too, in case Messiah actually was Jesus. These spiritual schmoozers basically want to have their kugel and eat the blood and body of Christ too.
Famous Jews for Jesus: Like, none, really. Not proper famous anyway. Not even Jesus.
Bonking for Buddha: Messianics always want to tell the story of their excruciatingly precious, life-affirming journey to salvation. Let them tell it to you as smugly as they can muster. To make a Messianic moist, all you have to do is listen. Just lie back and think of Anglicans.
Coming soon: how to engage in basic polite conversation with Muslims
While you’re waiting, why not watch Fiddler on the Roof? We look good in that.