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Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash

Nash, Edith
But you don't look Jewish,   pp. 57-58

Page 57

But You Don't Look Jewish
(On reading Nobody's Jew by Steve Orlen)
What does that mean? Looking Jewish — That I'm not dark enough, although
I have olive -skin
That I'm not curly haired enough, although my hair is the envy
Of all my women friends — "naturally curly" they say
That my nose is not big enough, although I can sniffle and snort
As good as any Mediterranean ethnic person
That I don't believe Jesus is the son of God
but remember him often
As a nice Jewish boy, well-raised and compassionate
And heir to the Great Tradition
That I don't know the slang words of Yiddish
But have to rush to Leo's Joy of Yiddish
To find out what a "schlemiel" is
That when I want to celebrate Passover
With friends, Protestant and Catholic
I have to read Gourmet magazine and The New York Times
Passover Cookbook, and A Haggadah for the Seder
Since I yearn to belong to the Great Tradition
For this short time
Maybe I just don't conform to your stereotype — Fawning or grasping
as in the Merchant of Venice
Or rich and loud as in Good-bye Columbus
Or reserved and haughty and still rich
With a faithful Black hovering as in Driving Miss Daisy
Or boasting and athletic
As in The Last Jewish Shortstop in America
Never slow or stupid, never loyal or patriotic
Never two parents working double jobs
To send their kids off to college
Once I sat next to a Harvard admissions officer At an educational conference
"We can't use SAT scores too much," he said "Because if we did, the whole
entering class Would be Asians and Jews
And where would the alumni's children 57

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