Jamie Rodney is about to enter his third year at St Andrews University where is studying English literature. He is one of the finalists in our search for a new student blogger for the JC:
“But yeah.” I said, midway through my second helping at the St Andrews Christian Union hog roast. “I’d say Judaism is a pretty big part of who I am.”
The funniest thing about that statement is not the context it was made in, but the fact that I really, genuinely believe it.
I’m not religious. I don’t even know enough about Judaism to list the ways I’m not a proper Jew. And yet, I am passionately, vehemently, proud of my Jewish (or at least, Jew-ish) identity, and going to university has only strengthened that.
I have never felt more uncomfortably aware of my Jew-ness than during my past two years at University. Sometimes it’s subtle- like when the people on your course start telling you how much they love Jeremy Corbyn, and you can’t help wondering what they think about Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker. Sometimes it’s less muted – the knowing nods when I mention being interested in journalism. And sometimes it’s not even hidden, like the guy who demanded I tell him what I thought of “that Nazi Netanyahu murdering Palestinian kids” when I mentioned I was Jewish. Not to mention the scores of people who have accused me of wanting to shut down criticism of Israel when I bring up antisemitism.
Now, to clarify, the majority of my fellow students are not antisemites, but the fact I even have to say that should tell you something.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that, no matter my religious beliefs, I have no choice but to remain a Jew. The climate on campus would make it cowardly to do otherwise. And if it ticks off a few bigots, that’s only a plus.
Bloody minded tenacity in the face of prejudice? Whatever my feelings on bacon and The Bible, you can’t get much more Jewish than that.