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Any Jews?

The notion of "the other" has cast long shadows over my life. One morning, when I was about nine or ten, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother and my father's mother. Grandma Alice spoke only Yiddish and could not read or write English. Mama was reading aloud from a newspaper account of a plane crash the night before, shaking her head with sadness at the loss of life. "Any Jews killed?" Grandma Alice asked. This was the familiar refrain: "Any Jews?" If there were no Jews, it was a non-event, something of no concern. I was confused. It made no sense to me that a segment of humanity would be excluded from concern because they were not part of our membership group. It was my first awareness of culture as a system of belonging, of insiders and outsiders.

Details

Baker, Elaine DeLott. "They Sent Us This White Girl." In Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000), 261.

Description

Quotation from "They Sent Us This White Girl" where Baker writes about her Grandmother Alice's view of the world as split between Jews and non-Jews. The author describes this as her "first awareness of culture as a system of belonging..."

Date / time
2000
Author(s)
Baker, Elaine DeLott
Publisher
University of Georgia Press
Publication
Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement
Date published
2000

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Any Jews?." (Viewed on September 3, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11242/lightbox2>.

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