I favor menorahs to Christmas lights

Hi, my name is Cadence Neenan, and I’m a self-identified wannabe Jew.

It all began in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah era. As a simple, awkward 13-year-old, I went to synagogue after synagogue on Saturday mornings for services all through seventh and eighth grade. I didn’t speak a word of Hebrew, the Torah portions and their symbolic messages downright confused me and I couldn’t quite figure out that a synagogue was the only place outside of a movie-musical where everything could be sung instead of said.

Yet, I fell in love.

Needless to say, I planned a Bat Mitzvah of my own, down to the very last detail. I had a theme, a guest list, invitations, speeches, possible gifts, all inscribed with great detail in a spiral notebook. I had my thirteen candles (and their adorable accompanying rhyming couplets) all planned out, and I knew which male family members would lift me up in the chair. The whole extravaganza was so fine-tuned that I could probably submit it as a sample work for an interview with a high-class wedding planning company.

As I’ve grown older, my love for Judaism has only blossomed. I’ve found a love for Jewish food – be it Challah, chocolate gelt, matzah ball soup, bagels with lox or any kosher food. I speak Yiddish as though it is my natural tongue, to the point that even my Jewish friends don’t know what I’m saying when I call them “meshugenah” or refer to myself as a “shiksa.” I’ve attended Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Shabbat dinners, Rosh Hashanah celebrations and even break-the-fast dinners at Yom Kippur.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my own culture. I’ll be hanging lights at Christmas and eating as much chocolate as the next girl at Easter.

But couldn’t I at least be half and half?