Friday, April 06, 2018

If she were Jewish, she’d understand!

Here is a 1939 Atlantic article by a Christian woman who married a Jew:
Then my mother pulled out the oldest and bitterest chestnuts that have been hurled against the Jews, accusations as old as the Roman Empire.

'The Jews are essentially an Oriental race,' she stormed, 'East is East, and Jews and Christians cannot really meet any more than Christians and Chinese. Jews are sensual, aggressive, ostentatious, cunning—that is a heritage they can never overcome. They accomplish things in business because they are shrewder than Christians and never hesitate to seize an unfair advantage. They accomplish things in science yes, but mostly windy theories like those of Einstein and Freud. Jewish painters like Picasso and Modigliani are clever but never great. Jews in the theatre—well, you have seen what they have done to Hollywood. The moving pictures are full of sex and sensuality, and cater solely to the Jews' god, money. Has there ever been a Jew who could approach Beethoven or Raphael? Has there ever…’
I guess it was socially acceptable to stereoype Jews back then.

The Wash. Post published this article last week by a Christian woman who dated some Jewish men:
Over almost seven years and two serious relationships with Jewish men who at first said religion didn’t matter — and then backtracked and decided it did — I’ve optimistically begun interfaith relationships with an open mind twice, only to become the last woman these men dated before settling down with a nice Jewish girl.

I can now say with certainty that I am tired of being a Jewish man’s rebellion. ...

Sure, there were some tense moments in these relationships. One of their mothers was extremely overbearing, somehow getting my cellphone number and calling me, asking where her son was. I didn’t know where he was, and her calling me made me incredibly uncomfortable. I asked my boyfriend how she got my number — he swore he didn’t give it to her — and told him I didn’t want this kind of involvement to be part of our relationship. When he talked to her about it, she exploded, yelling, “If she were Jewish, she’d understand!” I wasn’t invited to the seders that his family held, despite my saying I had loved attending them with my friends. There were times at church that I saw couples worshiping together and felt pangs of jealousy. But I told myself every relationship had its problems and these were relatively minor.

These issues weren’t there at first, but they started to appear after some time had passed and we were already in love. After years of dating, religion was suddenly a problem when it never had been before. I didn’t understand where it was coming from, and they weren’t able to explain it.

Not being Jewish was not the official reason either of these relationships ended.
If she is not Jewish, how is she supposed to learn to undertand such matters? the Atlantic magazine isn't telling us anymore.

Update: I posted the 1939 essay without reading all of it. She praises highly her Jewish husband, but is puzzled as to why he clings to his Jewish identity even tho he does not seem to believe in any of the Jewish religion and he married a non-Jew.

The bizarre part tho is that she says that one of their disagreements is about Hitler.
In the eyes of Ben, as in the eyes of all his people, Hitler stands for the Jewish equivalent of the Antichrist—a little, strutting monster whose sole purpose and pleasure in life is to flog, imprison, impoverish, humiliate, and plague Israel. ...

I try to tell Ben that Hitler is merely writing another page in a history that will continue so long as the status quo between Jews and Gentiles remains—a status that only the willing shoulders of both protagonists can remove. ...

He looks upon Hitler as something malignantly unique, and it is no use trying to tell him that a hundred years hence the world will no more call Hitler a swine for expelling the Jews than it does Edward I of England, who did the same thing in the thirteenth century—an expulsion that remained in strict effect until the time of Cromwell, because a hundred years hence another country will be having its Jewish problem, unless…
She also has trouble with his family's clannishness.

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