Being a Jew

You may count on us. We’re back again. You can make jokes about us, and stories in magazines and refer to them as about the Jews. Throw away all your second thoughts about “the Jews”, your insecurities and Bedenken. Look at us with curiosity. Yes, we’re debating. Yes, we’re dreaming. Most of all, we dream of becoming a political and cultural force in Germany and Europe again, the way we were in the 19th Century, or even more so, in the Twenties. After all, they were called the Golden Twenties, weren’t they. That’s typically Jewish.

Most of us do not see themselves as just and simply Jewish. We have multiple identities. We are also German, English, or Italian, we are academics, artists, or craftsmen. Yes, the occasional banker, as well. All of these are identities. We live where we want to live: in the centre of things, in the middle of society. Apart from being a minority, a bunch of left-overs, a victimized object of your old Gedenkkultur, the fifth column of Zionism, there’s more to being a Jew in Europe today, there’s bread-winning, there’s family life, there’s enjoying oneself, there’s fun, and in sleepless nights there’s quarrelling with your dead mother.

Yes I know, that’s all pretty contradictory (yawn), ambivalent as you would say. You must have noticed that we are not unanimous on all these issues, are we, Hendrik? In fact we are constantly discussing our identity with our inner self. When we pretend to get on G-d’s back with our never ending diatribes, it’s really ourselves we’re trying to come to terms with. We’ve been doing that for 5772 years now, so we’re pretty good at it. We’re happy to keep repeating that old Groucho Marx joke about not wanting to become members of a club ready to accept us. We’re not oblivious of the fact that we’ve already joined.

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