Anti-Semitism seems to have returned to the supposed melting pot: the U.S. of A.
Yesterday, there were 11 bomb threats targeted at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) reported.
The U.S. of A. had provided the opportunity for so many Eastern Europeans to begin a life of religious freedom and economic opportunity back in the early 20th century. My relatives were among them. My mother's maiden name was "Miksza."
My family was not Jewish. But they crowded into the same walk-up cold water tenements that Nathan Hardwerker (who started Nathan's Hotdogs on Coney Island) did. And they were victims of the same shabby treatment inflicted by those who had arrived in America before they did. Those ranged from WASPS to the Irish politicos.
Most of us grandchildren went to college. I had even made it to Harvard Law School. And we assumed that was that: The bias was over. Professionally and personally, we were on a level playing field.
Then, I emigrated from the New York Metro area to Tucson, Arizona. My objective was a lower-cost of living than I had struggled with in Manhattan and Connecticut.
Eventually I found out why it was proving so difficult to establish professional and social networks. A neighbor who got drunk asked me this and that about the Jewish culture. I said that since I wasn't Jewish I was not the best person to ask. In town, there was a JCC he could tap into.
He smirked. He insisted I was Jewish. But he could understand why I was trying to pass for something more mainstream, at least in the Southwest.
Admittedly, I have a deep New York Metro accent. My body type is stocky Eastern European. My facial features seem "Jewish" to some.
I packed up my communications boutique, four-footer son, and little life and returned back east. Here in Eastern Ohio, which is even more affordable than Tucson, I fit right in. From the get-go, my business and social life blossomed.
However, I now know the puzzling pain of being discriminated against just for "being taken" for Jewish. I still can't figure it out. If I could I might be able to help neutralize that force.
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