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  • Writer's pictureSandra Caganoff

On being Jewish

A friend asked how my recovery was going and I replied: “Ah thanks man, so good, healing, walking, feels like I am healthy again. Gonna tackle the mountain soon.”

Wonderful news Sandz she replied, you are amazing.

I panicked.

Hang on, I said, I don’t want to jinx it, let me say I am doing fair, fair to good, maybe a six out of ten…

‘So Jewish’ she replied with a fun emoji, and we both laughed and went back to fixing the world and checking in on our grown up children. Are they safe, are they healthy and have they got enough to eat.

Between us we have four children on four continents.

She is a dear friend who would take half an hour to choose which chair to sit in when she went through chemotherapy. The position had to be right and the view as good as it could be. She did this in an extremely considered and mindful way.

I reminded her about it and she said: Sandz, it wasn’t half an hour it was forty five minutes.


Of course.

Also, only Jewish people call me Sandz.

Later the same day I was chatting to another friend, talking about our non traditional Jewish ex husbands. Mine, not hers. She chose non traditional non Jewish husbands and that did not get her very far.

Mine did not get me very far either.

When I find another husband, I said, I want mine to be like, really Jewish.

What are you talking about, she replied. You choose men who are neurotic, anxious, hypochondriac, who kvell, and above all, who feed you. You choose men who take their own food on aeroplanes. You choose men who can't change light bulbs and don't have tool boxes.

I conceded.

I choose men who are Jewish.

Maybe I actually want a non Jewish husband. But then my Jewish family will excommunicate me.

The same day, okay fine I am healing, give me a ten out of ten but please don’t jinx anything, pu pu pu, I walked with a girlfriend who is every Jewish man’s dream. Blonde, blue eyed, skinny, statuesque, and uber cool. She IS the Golden Shiksa. I was telling her about my dog and how cute that on his prescription it says: “Fred Caganoff”

What do you mean his prescription?

Oh, he’s on Prozac, I replied, like this was normal. He has terrible anxiety.

Oh my god, she spluttered, you have turned your dog into a Jewish dog.

I spat out my own Prozac. And then we both looked at my dog. He turns up his nose at my cooking. I buy his chicken from the kosher section at Spar. He walks slowly, stopping to say hello to EVERYONE. He is indecisive about where he should do his ablutions. His ablutions can take a very long time. And his favourite pastime is sitting in front of the TV watching ball sports.

I’m patting him now and telling him I’ll be back in a few hours. I am on my way to my Uncle’s funeral. Uncle Archie died aged 95, and lived a good, long and beautiful life. Within a few hours of his death, more than a dozen Spar ready made roast chickens had been dropped off with his family, by a beautiful community, Jewish and non Jewish.

Because at the end of the day, we are all the same.

We are all dependent on the SeaPoint Spar.

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