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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor: Jew / Gentile divide

Published: January 20, 2006
Section: Opinions

To the Editor:
I keep hearing cries from Brandeis goys that the Jews here are racist against them. One article of the Hoot complains that there is a Jew-Gentile divide and the writer is appalled that he over-heard a Jewish man say on a cell phone, talking about his girlfriend, that he didnt know about her anymore because shed been talking to a lot of Christians. This poor writer has to carry around the weighty label goy with shame, unable to date the frum Jews since they would never have him.

But to his relief, hes not alone. An ex-suitemate of mine, East-Orthodox Christian, once saw the Friday-night stampede to services and said that he felt excluded–like the other on campus. Jews at Brandeis are aware of this tension and the most sensitive are the Reforms and Conservatives (i.e. Jewish-lite). One such Jew asked of a goy who was not sensitive to this tension, Dont you feel like they look down on you? To which I said, Not at all.

I was raised in a Protestant southern environmentI know racism. This aint it. I take racism to be the judging the content of a persons character based on superficial qualities. Im a senior and while Ive been here Ive only heard one case of true anti-goyitism, which should hardly stand as representative of Brandeis society. Most of my best friends are stark Ortho Jews. They derogatorily call me atheist, goy, and schmupper and I derogatorily call them Heb, Yid, and hairy-smelly-cheap-media-controlling-anti-Christmas Jews. And nobody takes any of it seriously. If I had read about the curse of being a goy, when I had finished laughing I would say, Nice, now diversify my stocks.

Its true, I cannot date the Orthos, which is sad because there are a few gems on the kosher side of Sherman who I know are dying for some shakitz loving. I dont take offense because I have had the open-mindedness to understand why.

Jewish lineage is passed down by the mother, and since it is Halakhikally required that Jews have at least two Jewish children, it is particularly important that the men date and marry Jews. It is important for women to marry Jewish men as well, though not as much, in order to teach the children Judaism rather than having a Christian father causing confusion. Is this crazy? Sure. But thats the religion, and if they believe it, you cant hold it against them that they practice it consistently. As far as I can tell, every religion practiced consistently comes out looking crazy. True for Christianity, Islam, many Native American religions, you name it.

So I dont take it personally when Jews eat with their friends from synagogue. Jewish society is Halakhikally important. And besides, its just natural to be friends with the people you see every day, and who you automatically have some common background with. If the guy on the phone talking about his girlfriends association with Christians was actually serious, which I doubt, then he is being absurd and he is just one guy. If you want to get closer to the Jews on campus, go sit with them at lunch. They dont talk enough anyway. Mention the weather.
Rabbi Goyman' 06
Editor's Note: The author's real name is withheld upon his request.