Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old-Timey

From a comment by one CK posted on the Tablet magazine website, in response to Ron Rosenbaum's May 25th article "Mistaken Identity?", which in part concerns the Lower East Side:

I love stories by and about old-timey Jews. Thanks, this was a fun look at a part of New York that existed before (!!!) CBGBs.

Does old-timey sound right alongside WASPs or Catholics or C of Eers? Not really. This is similar to the example of cockeyed Westport-y. Now: Are old-timey Jews in New York different than old-timey Jews in Hartford, or Buffalo, or New Orleans?

Rosenbaum refers to New York as "a Jewish city." Makes me wonder about commonalities among, say, Christians who like making New York their home. Are their perceptions of Jews or knowledge about Judaism different than those of Christians in "non-Jewish" cities?

For some time, I kept a fiction blog called the W.A.S.H. Chronicles, W.A.S.H. standing for White Anglo-Saxon Hebrew. The Jews in that world, brought up mostly secular, might or might not go to temple on high holy days, and it's likely they attend church (usually Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Quaker meetings) now and then. For the most part they are non-believers in their own faith, secular humanists, yet they are happy enough being members of the tribe and refuse to deactivate.

Rosenbaum's phrase brings to mind:

A recent Overheard in New York-worthy moment. A woman telling friends about women she met either working at or shopping at Bloomingdale's: "They were the Jewish-ist!"

The word JAP.

Last, the "30 Rock" joke:

Liz: Relax, I'm also setting up auditions in Toronto.

Jack: Canada? Why not just go to Iraq? The television audience doesn't want your elitist East Coast alternative intellectual left wing . . .

Liz: Jack, just say Jewish, this is taking forever.

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