Last night, I don't know exactly how it happened, but I found myself trapped at a table at a party with at least one and maybe two anti-semites. And they knew I was Jewish.
It started small. They have a problem with a neighbor who just happens to be Jewish. I agree that the neighbor is arrogant. My daughter goes to school with his son and this is not a friendly guy. But they started in with the "arrogrant, rich doctor" stereotypes, talking about how unattractive he was, and I thought any minute now we'll get onto some real Jewish stereotyping. This is how they talked with me at the table. What would they have said without me there?
Then we got to the subject of schools and the proper age to start kids in Kindergarten. The rule in Arizona is that children must turn five by September 1st. At my daughter's private school, because of many families coming from back east, she happens to have a few kids in her class who are younger or even much younger than her, up to a year and a half. Same mom says, "Well that wouldn't happen at Blank Christian Academy. It doesn't matter there how much money a family contributes. They can't just have their way." Did I say anything about money or contributions? Some of these families are on scholarships. Oh, I get it. It's because we're RICH JEWS that we automatically flex our money muscle to get what we want, even, apparently, putting babies in Kindergarten?
Does it matter that I was the only Jew there with a highly developed sensibility about Judaism? That another Jew in the room was wearing her name spelled out in Arabic because it was pretty? All I could think of as I looked at her quizzically was of Daniel Pearl dying not because he was an American, not because he was a journalist, but because he was a Jew. The personal is political, after all.
Note to self: no more neighborhood Bunco parties.