Words of the Week

“While there’s plenty of TV and books that I love about American Jewry, I rarely saw (and still rarely see) myself or my family in them. Almost inevitably, they define ‘American Jew’ in a very specific way. That definition assumes a number of things: an English-speaking house (maybe with an allowance for a German- or Yiddish-speaking bubbe), a settled middle class existence, and participation in a cultural narrative that almost inevitably leads back to a turn of the century tenement. There’s an assumption that we were immigrants, past tense. In our dominant cultural narratives, immigrant Jews, ESL Jews, and second-generation Jews stopped existing in America about 50 years ago.”