Yehudah Goldstein (legal name: Anthony) is an Orthodox Jew living in the Golders Green area of London. On his eleventh birthday, he gets a visit from Minerva McGonagall, who is both a goynote and a witch, telling him that he has been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This will be quite an adjustment for someone who's never even spent much time around non-Jews before.
The story follows along with the main events of the Harry Potter series, albeit from the perspective of someone who rarely interacts with Harry Potter; by the author's own admission, this story doesn't have much plot, focusing instead on how Yehudah views Hogwarts in light of his religious background.
The story is currently halfway through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
This story provides examples of:
- Adaptation Name Change: Sort of, since Anthony now goes by "Yehudah."
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Esti spends the part of the story as a typical crabby older sister, but she eventually realizes that Yehudah is hiding something from the family and tries to get him to open up about it.
- Big Brother Instinct: Terry, toward Benjamin... despite there being less than a year between their ages."Is he twelve already?"
Terry looked slightly embarrassed. "I'll be thirteen in January! It's not like we're the same age. I've got to look out for him, I'm the oldest."
- Canon Character All Along: With The Reveal in the Year One epilogue, it seems that Rabbi Zeller's daughter, Shoshana, is the minor character Rose Zeller. "Shoshana" is usually translated as "Rose," so it's presumably her legal name.
- Christianity is Catholic: Any specifically Christian character seems to be.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Harry was raised by a small family that he doesn't like, is happy to be a wizard and sees Hogwarts as his true home. Yehudah is basically the opposite of all that, coming from a large, insular, and religious family that he genuinely loves. Their Sortings are particularly noteworthy: the Hat says that Harry has a "thirst to prove himself" and almost puts him in Slytherin, but quickly rules out Slytherin for Yehudah, noting that he prefers a quiet life to any sort of ambition. (Yehudah's immediate thought: "Of course, who wouldn't?")
- Cultural Posturing: Snape believes strongly in wizarding pride, and yells at Yehuda for using a notebook and pen when "proper" wizards use quills and parchment.
- Dead Guy Junior: As you’d expect from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, it’s mentioned that all of the Goldstein siblings are named after deceased family members.
- Death by Childbirth: Implied to be the case for Rabbi Zeller's late wife, Baila Rochel.
- Deconstruction Fic: The story deconstructs how religious customs and norms interact with the wizarding world. Even without religious bigotry, there is still a bit of friction over Yehuda trying to hold onto his traditions while upholding the norms of Hogwarts.
- Discriminate and Switch: Before going to Hogwarts, Yehudah is wrongly worried that people are going to hate him for being Jewish. Of course, come his second year, he learns that he should actually be worried about people hating him for being Muggle-born.
- Does Not Like Magic: Orthodox Judaism in general, but Yehudah's father, Meir, in particular always seems uncomfortable about it.
- Fantastic Religious Weirdness: One of the main points of the story, especially as Yehudah navigates through his first year. The whole second chapter is basically an explanation of why Yehudah should be allowed to learn magic at all (see Person of Mass Destruction).
- Fantastic Racism: Naturally, blood purity has started to become an issue during Yehudah's second year.
- Fish out of Water: Going from an insular Jewish community to a magic wizarding school is quite a shift for Yehudah.
- Forgotten Birthday: Downplayed; Orthodox Jews generally don't make a big deal out of birthdays, so Yehudah is only mildly annoyed that no one in his family seems to remember his eleventh. Later he doesn't notice that his twelfth has passed until a friend mentions it. (Though the build-up to his thirteenth birthday/bar mitzvah, of course, is a bigger deal.)
- Forgotten First Meeting: Yehudah's two youngest brothers, being a toddler and a newborn, keep forgetting who he is when he goes away to Hogwarts for months at a time.
- Gender-Blender Name: At one point Yehudah gets confused about the name “Dove” because it reminds him of Dov,note a male Jewish name. He also assumes that “Basil” is a case of Floral Theme Naming and thus feminine.
- Good Parents: Yehudah's parents are very strict but loving parents whom Yehudah is very reluctant to part with. Yehudah notes if his parents were told about Voldemort, they would never have let him go to Hogwarts.
- Good Shepherd: Rabbi Zeller, who provides Yehuda with spiritual guidance and encouragement in his quest to control his magic.
- Handshake Refusal: As per the Orthodox Jewish custom, Yehudah's father refuses to shake hands with the female McGonagall.
- Innocent Bigot: Yehudah himself is a Downplayed example, as growing up in a close-knit Orthodox Jewish community has left him with a natural uneasiness around goyim. In particular, he instinctively sees Terry’s outspoken Catholicism as something threatening.
- Jerkass Realization: Yehudah, during his fight with Terry. First he learns that Terry was only signing him up to go home for Easter break, but he's still reluctant to apologize. Eventually he writes Rabbi Zeller, asking if he's obligated to apologize to someone who isn't Jewish... and, upon realizing that he can't even find a way to phrase that question without sounding like a jerk, figures out the answer for himself.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Being born to a muggle family, Yehuda has little knowledge of the wizarding world and its politics. Michael is taken aback that Yehuda knows nothing about Harry Potter.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: The Goldsteins’ seventh child is born during Yehudah’s first year (which gets them compared to the Weasleys). Also, Terry is the oldest of five.
- Mistaken for Foreigner: The first sign of Terry's extreme lack of tact:Terry: Where are you from?
Terry: No, I mean where are you from?
Padma: Birmingham. (laughs, rolls eyes) My grandparents are from India. You could have just asked.
- Muggle Born of Mages: Terry’s youngest brother, Leo. Oddly the usual angst about this is Averted, as the family just treats this as him taking after their Muggle father.
- N-Word Privileges: Discussed:Yehudah: But what's a Mudblood?
(Stephen, Michael and Terry all wince)
Stephen: Yehudah, that's an awful thing to say.
Michael: He can say it if he wants, he's Muggle-born.
- Oblivious Younger Sibling: All of Yehudah's siblings are oblivious to the fact that he has magical powers, believing that he got accepted to a religious school in the United States. The Corners are rather surprised to learn this, since it's not what most Muggle-borns do.
- O.C. Stand-in: Pretty much all the major characters, save the teachers.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Terry, often.
- Parental Title Characterization: The Orthodox Jewish characters usually call their parents "Mummy and Tatty." One of Yehudah's friends, Danzinger, comes from a family that used to be less observant than their neighbors; the fact that he called his mother "Mum" was one thing that set him apart from the other children.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Without naming names, McGonagall tells the story of Ariana Dumbledore as a reason why the Goldsteins should let Yehudah learn magic. Rabbi Zeller agrees that Jewish law mandates it if the other option puts lives at risk.
- Picky Eater: Yehudah mainly sticks to fruit and vegetables at Hogwarts. Justified since he eats strictly kosher.
- Power Incontinence: Yehuda's growing magic led him to nearly set a kid on fire. McGonagall cites this as the reason why Yehuda must attend Hogwarts since he'll be a danger to everyone around him if he doesn't get his powers under control.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: A case of Lampshading the source material—Ravenclaw characters question why Harry is allowed to join the Quidditch team as a first year, and Yehudah thinks that it's unfair of Dumbledore to suddenly make Gryffindor beat Slytherin in the House Cup at the last minute.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Rabbi Zeller is the most prominent one in the fic. He's a great source of support and wisdom for Yehudah, and is very understanding about how Yehuda's situation is a little unusual and needs to be treated with more leniency.
- Flitwick isn't as big an influence, and doesn't always understand Yehudah's needs as an Orthodox Jew, especially when those needs clash with school rules, but he is understanding and tries as hard as he can to find reasonable compromises.
- While McGonagall is adamant about Yehuda going to Hogwarts, she's willing to accommodate his spiritual needs like ensuring the house elves give him kosher food and allowing him time off to celebrate the High Holy Days.
- Recursive Fanfiction: "Goldstein: Shanah Bet," featuring asserted vignettes leading up to Yehudah's bar mitzvah.
- Retcon: The author’s notes Lampshade the fact that the story switches Michael's father, previously established as a Muggle, into a wizard when he actually shows up.
- The Reveal: In the epilogue of Book 1, we learn that Rabbi Zeller’s daughter Shoshana is a witch. See Canon Character All Along.
- Shown Their Work: The author is an Orthodox Jew and has clearly put a lot of thought into how the Wizarding world lines up with Jewish law.
- The Spock: Yehudah has shades of this, being quiet, reserved, and studious. The Sorting Hat declares him a good fit for Ravenclaw.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality; Meir Goldstein is a very strict father but he gives Yehudah a parting hug before sending him off to Hogwarts.
- The Talk: Michael is Implied to get this off-screen.
- Teachers Out of School: At the end of his first year, Yehudah has to wait an extra day before going home and thus winds up eating dinner with all of the Hogwarts professors, which he finds mildly surreal.
- Token Religious Teammate: Aside from Yehudah, we see a bit of how other religious students at Hogwarts get by, particularly with Terry and the Patil twins.
- Villains Out Shopping: Downplayed, but Draco Malfoy interacts with the Ravenclaws one or two times during the first year, and we see that he's not particularly antagonistic toward them. As a result, they're rather shocked by the open Fantastic Racism that he displays when the Heir of Slytherin's first message appears.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: As well as Hebrew and Aramaic. The author started putting a glossary at the end of each chapter to help readers understand it all.
- You Mean X Mas: Yehudah calls it this, because apparently just saying “Christmas” is weird to him.