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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2006 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

Dirty little secret about Jewish prejudices

By Jonathan Tobin



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'Jew v. Jew' still spreading


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The truth can hurt. Especially when it comes to a group that tends to regard itself as open-minded and sensitive to the feelings of others. But even though it might be easier to keep pretending that it doesn't exist, it's time once again to face the truth about a not-inconsiderable segment of American Jewry: More than a few of us are religious bigots.


How can a group that has faced prejudice for two millennia and suffered a Holocaust within our living memory harbor such feelings?


The answer is that as long as you are talking about Jewish opinion about other Jews, such sentiments always seem to bubble just beneath the surface.


This phenomenon is on display for all to see in the November issue of Philadelphia magazine in a feature by Phillip Weiss, tastefully titled "Oy Vey, There Goes the Neighborhood."


The neighborhoods in question are Lower Merion and Bala Cynwyd, once the heart of the traditionally WASP-ish and prosperous Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia. While large numbers of upwardly mobile Jews have been a fixture in the area for generations, the problem, at least for some quoted by Weiss, is that in the last two decades have come the influx of Orthodox Jews into the area.


The event that precipitated the growth of the Orthodox community there was the creation of an eruv, which enabled Jews to carry objects or push baby-strollers outside their homes on the Sabbath and holidays. Along with all the other requirements for an observant lifestyle — like readily available kosher food, schools and synagogues — an eruv is an indicator of an Orthodox-friendly neighborhood.


So what's the problem? According to Weiss, seculars "are put off by the fundamentalism and narrowness of the Orthodox Jews." Even worse, Weiss says that these secular and presumably politically liberal Jews worry that the Orthodox are "diminishing an enlightened community importing a culture of narrow-minded fundamentalism."

'JEWISHIZING' A LIBERAL SUBURB
One reason for this sentiment is a function of the Orthodox community's tendency toward greater political conservatism. Another, he points out, is the nature of Orthodox religious belief, which has led to what Weiss calls a degree of "evangelism" about Sabbath observance and lighting candles on Friday nights.


This "Jewishizing of Lower Merion," as Weiss puts it, has put secular Jewish teeth on edge. Even worse, he writes, is the fact that the Orthodox have views about gender relations, homosexuality and sexual morality that clash with the beliefs of those who embrace the popular culture of our day.


Weiss says that he found no one who would express such sentiments on the record (other than himself and his editor Larry Platt, that is, who wrote in a separate editor's note that he and his wife like to drive down a major street in the area on the Sabbath and play a game they call 'Spot the Jew' whenever they spy the Orthodox on their way to shul), so he is forced to merely quote people, like a friend of his mother's, anonymously. This is a major journalistic failing, and would normally speak to either the flimsy nature of the thesis that Weiss is seeking to illustrate or to his laziness.


But lack of reliable sources notwithstanding, I'm prepared to accept his thesis that this hostility is real. One need only read Samuel G. Friedman's Jew vs. Jew, the Columbia University journalism professor's 2000 study of several varieties of intra-communal Jewish conflict in the United States, to see that such sentiments are hardly rare.


The pattern is a common one. In the case of Lower Merion, as Weiss puts it, the new Orthodox arrivals "altered the character of a liberal suburb."


He writes of non-observant Jews sitting in a non-kosher, "Jewish-style" restaurant on the Sabbath, viewing flocks of the observant walk past them on their way to shul. The implication is that the diners are somehow threatened by the shul-goers.


It seems the Orthodox presence isn't a form of diversity that an otherwise liberal community would extol. Why? Because the shul-goers are viewed in some way as a challenge to the seculars, who feel that their own way of life is threatened by the Judaism proliferating around them.


The notion of educated, sophisticated and even affluent Jews embracing an Orthodox lifestyle with all it entails is profoundly disturbing to those who saw assimilation into the mainstream as the main goal of American Jewry.


Indeed, Weiss' mother's friend seems a convenient symbol of a generation that views a vibrant Orthodoxy as frightening specifically because it seems to place the disintegration of her own family's Jewish identity (none of her grandchildren are Jewish) in a less than flattering light.


Among secular Jews who have come to view all religion as negative, the prejudice against Orthodoxy is often no less visceral than the prevailing attitudes among many Jews about evangelical Christians. As in that case, it isn't just that their beliefs are different. It is that many of us unfairly view them as backward and inherently illegitimate.


What is the antidote to this ugly and disturbing trend?


The obvious answer would be for those who feel threatened by the Orthodox to try talking to them, rather than merely seize upon any unflattering anecdote to justify negative stereotypes. If they did, they'd find that despite the differences, they still have in more in common with their fellow Jews than they think.


Non-Orthodox Jews also resent the notion that the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism is somehow inherently "inauthentic" when compared to Orthodoxy. That is a sentiment many of the Orthodox are often happy to reinforce. But you don't have to accept that idea — and I don't — to understand that the growth of Orthodoxy and of the infrastructure of Jewish life in places where it was previously lacking is a positive development. Indeed, the trend toward greater emphasis on observance, Hebrew and ritual is part of the story of all of our religious movements these days.

THE REAL ENEMY?
But most of all, it is high time every segment of Jewry, from secular to Orthodox, reminded themselves that their fellow Jews aren't the enemy.


We live in a time in which anti-Semitism is spreading from the Muslim world to a Europe where Jews and Israel are viewed with growing hostility. Like the Nazis, Islamic fundamentalists don't really care whether you go to shul on Saturday. They want to kill all of us. Concentrate on that, and your worries about whether your Orthodox neighbors have an opinion about the non-kosher chicken in your shopping cart (as Weiss relates) are put into perspective.


Like it or not, we Jews are still simply too few in numbers to allow our differences to outweigh our common heritage. If you can live next door to Christians who don't share your religious beliefs, what's the big deal about having a neighbor who is Sabbath observant?


This dirty little secret of Jewish life must be confronted and answered with increased communal solidarity. If we are enjoined by our tradition to "welcome the stranger," welcoming your fellow Jews — even if their beliefs are different from your own — shouldn't be too much to ask.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Tobin