Do You, Bagel, Take This Balela?
Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of my father's stroke, which left him with aphasia and a severely weakened right side. He was once a bold and outspoken Jew from Brooklyn and one of the remaining few who could understand and speak some Yiddish. Now, however, he struggles to speak English.
I was born and raised a conservative Jew in the suburbs of Long Island, but I never learned to speak Yiddish -- maybe a bissel
(a little) at best. I enjoy celebrating the High Holy Days with my family, breaking the Yom Kippur fast with an "everything" bagel smeared with cream cheese and lox, discussing stories of the Old Testament, and reading about Jewish mobsters and sports legends. That's about the extent of my Jewish culture, but it's about to change.
My lovely fiancee, Galia, and I are due to be married at the end of this month. It never really occurred to me that I could marry a Jewish woman with whom I'd have so many cultural differences. Galia is an Israeli American, brought to the United States by her family when she was a baby. And, although she has spent the majority of her life in the States -- living in six of them -- she still identifies strongly with being Israeli. As an example, Galia showed more excitement over what fellow Israeli (and former SAP bigwig) Shai Agassi is doing with electric vehicles than she did watching the Super Bowl.
Her interests have expanded my cultural awareness. Thanks to Galia and her family I've become more interested in Middle Eastern foods, in that region's politics and culture, and in speaking Hebrew. According to marketers, as I enter my next life stage as the proverbial married man, my interests are expected to change. It won't be long before I invest in family insurance plans, family healthcare, a safe and reliable car, and a comfortable home and all the furnishings that go with it. This is all true -- but my marriage will likely alter my spending habits in another way as I develop stronger ties to my culture.
Preserving cultures and multiculturalism in America is a growing phenomenon -- one that marketers would be wise to address. That's why we offer this month's cover story, "The Markets Within the Masses,"
by Editorial Assistant Jessica Tsai. In preparation for this feature story we sent Jessica to some conferences on multicultural marketing. Read the feature to see some of the tips she gathered.
As for our wedding, Galia and I are investing in the best photographer and videographer we can find. My father, who also once prided himself on his knowledge of Hebrew prayers and blessings, has been practicing so he can recite one at our wedding. I know he'll say it beautifully.