Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2017-05-23 07:49 pm (UTC)
This is really interesting. I had not realized that these nomenclature issues (in terms of self-description) were also a problem for those like you who are Jewish by religion, ethnic background and culture!
I certainly find the expression "The Jews" uncomfortable. It seems always like it is part of a sentence involving a generalization, probably not flattering. There is also the problematic use in the Gospel of John - e.g. "...for fear of the Jews", when it is Jewish people he is talking about who have the fear (of the religious authorities). One can understand the context, in the wake of the final split between Christianity an Judaism, but it is still extremely problematic.
Jew as a noun, yeah, context is everything. I remember when I was a kid at school, other kids frequently used "Jew" as a synonym for "mean person", as in "Lend me 50p" "No" "Oh, don't be such a Jew", which I did not appreciate.
I have wrestled with the question of whether I am entitled to describe myself as Jewish - three Jewish grandparents and one Jewish step-grandparent, but not the bio-maternal-gran, brought up Atheist, converted to Christianity. When I was a kid I described myself as "Three quarters Jewish", but subsequently realized how absurd that is, and in particular became wary of playing the "I'm Jewish and I support the Palestinians" card, as being appropriative.
But I've always been willing, when someone says something anti-Semitic, to say "Hey, I'm Jewish and I find that offensive", and so now Trump is in power and with all the vileness around that, including much more prominent anti-Semitism, I have lost some of these qualms and am much more willing to describe myself as Jewish. (Or Jew-
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