Because journalist Tinky Weisblat questioned in her August review of BEGUILED in the Greenfield Recorder, why I hadn’t included any instances of anti-Semitism which was rampant in the early 1900s, I began to question myself. Why not?
I grew up in small cities where there were few Jews and my parents were cultural Jews who had no interest in organized religion. So I had little to no exposure. My friends growing up were a mixed group. I had little awareness of their “religion,” except at Christmas time when some of them got a lot of presents.But, so did some Jews.
Although BEGUILED did not include scenes depicting anti-Semitism, I intend to listen for that as I’m writing the sequel. Of course, Henry Ford was a notorious anti-Semite, so the early decades of the 1900s portrayed in BEGUILED could surely have lent themselves to scenes of Miriam’s Pop’s Workmen’s Circle, the Jewish Socialist -unionist organization, discussing this.
Fast forward to now: with the bombings and defacement of synagogues and alt-right anti-Semitic speech in Charlottesville, VA, I finally acknowledged that it’s not something to be ignored by Jewish people, of whatever stripe.
I ewS The New York Times journalist Jonathan Weisman’s book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump.
The revelations there are shocking and disgusting displays of hatred – hatred of Jews, women, Muslims, blacks, gays, Latinos, anybody considered as “other” by the white male supremacists who people the dark side of the Internet. I tried many times to stop reading as it was so disturbing, but became fascinated with finding out what this is about.
I’m still struggling with what response I have to worldwide anti-Semitism, recognizing that many of my extended family on my father’s side perished in gas chambers. But, also that I’ve not personally been exposed to it.