I’ve never spent the High Holy Days on the east coast before.

I’m from Seattle. There’s a joke (well, there’s a joke as of right now):
Q: How do you tell a Seattle Jew from a Seattle goy?
A: There’s a difference?

I did my latke presentation in kindergarten like everyone else, the song and dance of why is this girl different from all other girls; you all have heard (or lived) that story before.

I moved to New York about 9 months ago now. One thing I did not expect to get when I came here was the Jewish community I never knew I was missing. Growing up, I went to religious school every year from kindergarten through 10th grade, but other than that and one family with which my family was friends, I lived in a goyishe world. I was okay with that and then, as I came out as a big queermo and again as an anti-occupation Jew, it was pretty much guaranteed that Judaism and I were on a break. You all have probably heard (or lived) this story too.

And you might have heard the story about how shocked I still am, shocked and thrilled, that since I have moved to New York I have started to find radical queer Jews committed to all three of those identities; people who are messy queermosexuals, just like me, and yet deeply and learnedly Jewish.

But all that isn’t what I want to write about. What I want to write about is the fact that every grocery store in this city seems to have a Rosh Hashana prepared foods list. There are circular advertisements. Apples! Honey! I could probably get a round challah from the deli by the subway train. Never before have I been in a city where not only are there Jews, but there are tons of Jews, tons of Jews who are really into being Jewish all the time and tons of Jews (myself somewhat included) who get into being Jewish right around this time of year. Never before have I felt like a majority of anything, and while New York City is still only 12% Jewish or so (from the US census; I will edit to include a link but I have seen this statistic used widely) it kind of feels like we run the place. We’re everywhere, and I love it. I love knowing that so much of the city, over the next few days, is going to at least momentarily acknowledge being from the same tribe that I am.

At the same time, though, it’s strange to me. I am not sure what I think about the fact that our holidays are all over the city, even though I love feeling like the rest of the world is celebrating what I’m celebrating. But what makes us so much more worth the attention than all the other religions out there? We’re in the majority of the minority, I am willing to bet, but it still strikes me as strange sometimes. What about everything else? Is it the fact that, generally speaking, Jews are well off? That many Jews, although not all, have a lot of privilege from everything else?

Maybe it’s just that I’m not used to anyone else paying attention and now it seems strange. When Passover came up last spring, you could have picked my jaw up off the floor with a feather and a wooden spoon. Matzoh was EVERYWHERE, and so were all kinds of other things. Everyone had a display up, it seemed, with shelves covered with paper and everything. I remember trying to get matzoh by my parents’ house in Seattle and being directed to the ethnic food aisle, where there were a few boxes of matzoh that weren’t even Kosher for Passover. To come here, where I could in fact (if I had $25 dollars a day for lunch) have a KP lunch delivered to my job every day? From any number of places? And let’s not even mention all the other gourmet treats, let alone basic everyday staples?

It was amazing — just like this city-wide acknowledgement of Rosh Hashana is amazing to me right now. I am not used to being in a place where being Jewish puts you in any kind of majority or larger community. It makes me assume that something funny is going on. But I don’t know, and I don’t expect to know any time soon — what do you all think? What is it like where you are? Have you been in New York for a while? What’s your take?