My husband was on the West Side of Cleveland (where there are very few Jews) for a bris appointment with new parents. On the way home, he stopped by a pharmacy to pick up a few items. The man standing behind him in line leaned in and said, with a distinctive New York accent:
“Ya can’t even get a decent knish around here!”
Bingo, husband. You’ve been bageled.
Bageling is when a person wants an obviously “Jewish” looking Jew (ie, wearing a yarmulke, buying latke mix at the grocery) to know that he, too, is Jewish. I’ve been bageled numerous times, and I’ve bageled others too (they don’t always appreciate it). I love it when people bagel me because it gives me the opportunity to connect with a fellow Jew, but more, it shows me that this person is proud of his Judaism and wants to connect too.
My brother was in an airport once and a guy came over to him and simply said, “CHOLENT!” I’m not kidding you. That was the bagel. That guy wanted my obviously Jewish brother to know that he, too, was a fellow member of the tribe.
I was at the Children’s Museum in Baltimore on a Friday afternoon and looked at my watch, motioning to my kids that we were going to get ready to leave. The woman sitting next to me said, “It’s almost Shabbos – we better get going too!” It was important to her that I know that she was cognizant and observant of Shabbos.
On the flip side, I was at a bank opening an account, and the the man helping me out was wearing a nametag that read, “Josh Goldstein.” He asked me, among other things, my mother’s maiden name, which is very Jewish-sounding. He seemed like a pretty friendly guy, so I told it to him, smiled and said, “Can’t get a more Jewish name than that!” He seemed a bit uncomfortable with the bagel. Maybe it felt off to him professionally.
Another bank teller in the branch I always frequent has a very Jewish name. Before Rosh Hashanah I was in there and I was thinking, “Should I wish him a Happy New Year?” I spent the whole time in line pondering this question, and when I finally got to the front, mustered up the courage and wished him a Happy New Year. His face lit up and he wished me one right back.
To bagel or not to bagel? Do you like being bageled? Have you ever bageled someone else? Good or bad results?