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June 10, 1988 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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TRENDS

and

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WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICHIGAN 48322

With Love and Great Pride
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REGINE ROSENBAUM

on your graduation from
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Manny, Mike, Harold, Andy and Sue

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29129 Greenfield Rd. • Southfield, MI 48076

56

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1988

'3 ' 3'424-8118

Special to the Jewish. News

F

ritz and I shared a car
ride back from a week-
end-long party last
summer in the Catskill Moun-
tains. As a result of a two-
hour Sunday evening traffic
jam and my small son dozing
peacefully in his car seat, we
fell into one of those long, in-
timate conversations where
every subject from AIDS to
the Reagan Administration
to mutual friends is explored.
Having met only that day,
Fritz and I were both sur-
prised by the quick rapport
we formed. When I finally
dropped him off at his apart-
ment, we exchanged phone
numbers and vowed to keep
in touch.
The following day, I re-
ceived a call from Debra, one
of those mutual friends we
had discussed.
"Fritz really enjoyed
meeting you," she told me.
"He said that he found you
very Jewish."
"Very Jewish?" I laughed.
"What does that mean?"
"I asked him the same
question," she replied. "He
said that he meant it as a
compliment. He thought you
were very warm and open."
Oh.
What characteristics do we
equate with Jewishness? Is it
warmth and openness? How

about pushiness, intellec-
tualism, neuroticism or
materialism? Which stereo-
types hold true, if any? Is
there a usefulness in drawing
ethnic generalizations?
After I ended my conversa-
tion with Debra I mulled over
Fritz's comment, trying to
decide if I should take urn-
brage at it. After much men-
tal volleying back and forth,
I was forced to conclude that
I wasn't offended because, in
all honesty, the exact same
thought has occurred to me
regarding other people.
Take my friend Roberta, for
instance. Roberta was raised
in an Italian Catholic home in
Brooklyn and attends weekly
Mass. But with her thick
regional accent and "schmalt-
zy" brand of sentimentalism,
she has always seemed very
Jewish to my husband and
me.

As for Roberta herself, a
dedicated social worker who
claims a large number of
Jewish friends and has a
weakness for pastrami, she
has often jokingly referred to
herself as an "honorary Jew."

On the other hand, I once
had a political science pro-
fessor in college who seemed
the very embodiment of
ivory-towered WASP intellec-
tualism. With a wardrobe
straight out of Brooks
Brothers, brilliant and
charismatic yet aloof, the pro-

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