For the past few days, I have been at college orientation (done now). I talked a lot to ohers about Judaism, periodically checking to see if they were still interested and giving them time to talk about themselves, because I was suddenly acutely aware of being Jewish. Below is a somewhat amusing list of "not in Jew-World anymore" moments.
1. During orientation, lots of tables were set up by various organizations connected with the school. I saw three different church tables in the space of roughly 20-30 feet.
2. My orientation group was sitting with our group leaders playing a game. We had a beach ball with questions written on it and when someone caught it she had to answer one of the questions. I chose "If you were invisible, where would you go?" I replied with "the men's side of the Western Wall" and got totally blank looks. Oops.
3. Jews hang holy scrolls, caled mezuzot (singular mezuza), on the right side of our door posts. There is a custom to touch them and kiss one's fingers on the way through the door. I kept almost reaching up, and occasionally actually reaching up, for mezuzot that weren't there.
4. I was standing in line for lunch, and all of a sudden it hit me: I was in a dining hall where the meat was not kosher. Insert momentary mental breakdown here.
5. During the evening one night, a bunch of us were hanging around talking about senior pranks at our high schools. I told the story of my freshman year, when the senior class reproduced the ten plagues in all the classrooms. I got a totally blank look from one of the girls, which I took to mean she didn't understand how. I added, "Down to dead crickets on the floor." She looked disgusted, but not in a way that said she understood. Finally, to clue me in, one of the other girls asked the one in question whether she knew the story of the ten plagues. She said she didn't, although once I started telling it she remembered. Oops.