Of all the words that have been spoken and the ink that’s been spilled over Bernie Sanders’ Jewishness, nothing quite encapsulates his identity like a Saturday Night Live skit from 2016. In it, Sanders plays an immigrant aboard a ship to America; Larry David (whose own impersonation of Sanders has drawn plenty of praise) plays another, wealthier passenger.
“Who are you?” asks David’s character.
“I am Bernie Sanderswitzky,” Sanders replies. “But we’re gonna change it when we get to America, so it doesn’t sound quite so Jewish.”
“Yeah, that’ll trick them,” David says coyly.
The joke is clear: No matter…
Ralph Preiss was a child living in Rosenberg, Germany, on November 9, 1938, when mobs began burning down synagogues, breaking into Jewish-owned businesses, and beating people in the streets. At least 96 people died during Kristallnacht, and nearly 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Preiss’ family witnessed the rise of the Nazi party’s Nuremberg Laws targeting their community. Jews and gentiles were not allowed to marry; Jewish children were banned from public schools; civil servants were dismissed from their posts. Shortly after Kristallnacht, Preiss’ family left Germany, traveling first to France, and then to the…
Early Tuesday evening, the New York Times Politics Twitter account tweeted out that “President Trump will sign an executive order defining Judaism as a nationality,” and Twitter immediately went into overdrive. Was Trump classifying Jews as un-American and promoting the dual-loyalty smear? Were Nazi deportations and Nuremberg Laws around the corner? No. The sky isn’t falling. The Trump executive order simply enshrines as policy decades of existing anti-discrimination laws meant to protect Jews.
The issue is this: a number of anti-discrimination laws are phrased as protecting people from discrimination based on “race or nationality” — but not religion. …
My family synagogue was burned to the ground in Duluth, Minnesota, last week. The televised image of a Jewish sanctuary on fire was an ancestral trauma made real. Six sacred scrolls were lost to the flames.
My stages of grief have not been discrete in the days since, but are lived simultaneously: shock, fear, guilt for not visiting, and, after an arrest was made, rage. But mostly and overwhelmingly, I am lost.
The fire was arson. It was not, we are told, a hate crime.
James Amiot, a 36-year-old white man, set ablaze the sukkah, the traditional Jewish structure built…
On a muggy summer day, I happened upon two twentysomething Chinese men bickering over the best angle for a selfie in front of the memorial wall at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. After they declined my offer to help with the photo, I asked why they had come to the museum. They said they were aspiring entrepreneurs, and they had come to learn how to be like the Jews.
“Jews are rich and good at business,” one said.
“And very clever,” the other added.
I told them I was Jewish.
“Jews are great!” said the first. …
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