Am I Jewish or Not? My Mouth and Brain Fire Up as I Wear My Heart On My Sleeve

It’s complicated or maybe not so much

Lisa S. Gerard
5 min readMay 30, 2022


portrait of two women friends laughing and smiling with sunglasses on
Image by Luis Wilker WilkerNet from Pixabay

“Oh, my God! Are you Jewish? I just knew you were!”

This is a slow-motion and much-repeated loop in my life.

We stood poolside and exchanged phone numbers for the future. The three of us women were strangers an hour prior but quickly bonded with common life experience disclosures. We covered a lot of ground in a short time.

Click, click, click…as I typed BRAUN into her contacts, her exuberance ignited.

The sun rays caught her Star of David necklace, and sparkly reflections danced across the pool water. Her bright smile was a contender, though, for the brilliant shine of jewelry I hadn’t noticed until then.

She instantly exuded excitement from every pore. I liked her and wondered if my answer would disappoint her.

“Oh, my God! You are Jewish, aren’t you?”

Oh, this is so complicated.

How deep do I go in on this first meeting?

I can’t lie about it, and the truth is a tad bizarre when I am cornered to reply. It’s a clearcut answer for most people. How hard can it be to respond to such a straightforward question?

It’s difficult to be an over-thinker.

For me to say yes would not be accurate. I was raised Presbyterian and was an elder in our church. To say no also wasn’t completely true. It was complicated enough to warrant the back story. Eventually, it comes together nicely.


I just met her and another gal at the pool. How much is too much during the ‘getting to know you’ phase?

I decided to start slow and test the waters of acceptance.

I laughed and told her yes and no.

“But your last name is Jewish,” she stated with great conviction, “so you have to be!”

Well, that’s my married last name. Ironically, my ex-husband and his family are not Jewish either.



Lisa S. Gerard

Just doing my thing, letting you do yours. Be kind. It matters. Help break Mental Health stigma. Share a smile.