Here are two stories of Jews that turned out not to be, from Sarah Bas Avraham, who lives in small town Virginia.
I was coming home from the hospital and was chatting with the driver of my taxi. She began talking about her church and asked which church I attended. I said I didn’t, as I am Jewish. This fascinated her and she asked some questions. She then said that there was a synagogue in Abingdon (where I live). As I had lived there almost a year and had dome some investigating, I was certain there wasn’t, but she was insistent and described where it was, then drove me to the location (Abingon being a small town).
It was THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!
I couldn’t help but laugh, though I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. On the way home I told her that if the building has a cross and the words “Jesus or Christ” in the name, it isn’t a synagogue!
The other incident occurred with the only bagel place between here and Knoxville. A friend of mine insisted that it was owned by Jews and that I could get some Jewish things (she wasn’t sure what) from their store. This sounded plausible to me, so I looked forward to my visit to the bagel place with much anticipation. We went on a Friday morning. We went in, and I ordered a dozen salt bagels. Then I went to check out the Judaica in the back of the store. I only had to look a minute when I soon found out that this was NOT a Jewish store at all but a “Messianic Jewish” establishment. Everything was geared around Yeshua. I felt like the victim of a bait-and-switch! After we had gotten our bagels and left, I told my friend that, contrary to her belief, the bagel place was really run by a group of Christians. She was most disappointed. “But they’ve got that Jewish stuff in the back.” She protested. She is a Pagan, so I explained a littled about Jews vs Christians.
So I had two instances where things that were putatively Jewish turned out not to be after all. For a small area, that’s a high ratio!
Sarah Bas Avraham blogs on PunkTorah about her misadventures as a Jew living in rural America. Check out her last blog about Jews and BBQ.