I’m Too Harsh on My People

For a few years when I was trying to establish myself in journalism, I shared an apartment on the Lower East Side with my grandmother and grandfather (when my future wife came to visit, she called me Shtetl Eddy). One day my grandmother leaned against the elevator door waiting for the elevator and gave me a look. “You’re harsh, did you know that.” I guess I’d just laid into her. (And she could be tough).

Yesterday I got a note from a friendly commenter saying I was stoking the fires of antisemitism, and toughdove, an old friend, says he wants me to come up with better rhetorical ways of addressing my issues. These guys are both right; and I intend to learn from them. I’m not changing my views, but I think I have to work on my sensitivity. My big excuse is that all my growing-up I was told about antisemitism (then I got to college and freaked out about all the WASPy finals clubs that didn’t want me), then I got out into the world and antisemitism was there, but it has really made very little difference at all in my life.

One big issue on this blog is the idea that Jewish history is changing in important ways in the U.S. right now. This isn’t your grandmother’s diaspora. Understanding that is big work, but I’ve got to find a tender chord… I’m Too Harsh on My People