I don't usually write controversial articles, mostly because I avoid stirring up trouble, and I don't get a thrill out of hate mail. But my latest article on new anti-Semitism in this week's Pacific Sun, may just be the first (or maybe I'm being paranoid).
What makes the topic so interesting (to me) is that this new anti-Semitism, as defined by the Anti Defamation League, is coming from the unlikely source of the poltical left, disguised as criticism of the Israeli gov't/policies but equating it with negative Jewish stereotypes.
My editor gave me this assignment because we have a good working relationship and he feels I'm capable. But more than a few of the people I interviewed, when they heard my name, made vast assumptions about my "obvious" Jewishness based on my name, and came to conclusions like one man I who said, "Well I can see why they gave YOU this assignment."
Ironically, due to the way that my grandparents transmitted Judaism to my father (they didn't, too traumatized by what they'd seen in both Palestine/Israel when they lived there, and by what became of their families back in Germany), and the fact that my mother is not Jewish, I grew up as a little girl with a very Jewish sounding name, but no awareness of the religion or its traditions to back it up.
Yet all my life, my name was enough to make people want to include me in a tradition I have never had a claim to (I've always thought that was sweet).
In college I decided I wanted to get in touch with my Jewish roots, and so I turned to my grandparents who told me they were the worst source. Then I went to a lovely reform temple with a friend, where the Rabbi was female, and I had a great experience. But not enough to convert.
Despite all that, I will admit there's something about the traditions and rituals that attract me, but I can say the same for a lot of the traditions and rituals of other religions.
Mostly, I found this article so interesting to research because of people's intensity, the long-embattled history of Jews as scapegoats, and the hypocrisy that even left-leaning "humanitarian" types fall prey to.