Thursday, October 1, 2009

First day of October and the air is crisp and the sun brilliant.

I was reading someone's analysis about the"outsider" status that Jews once had and if the recent primary results for Yassky and Green meant something.

The Supreme Court in a decision from many many years ago, in a case discussing the Japanese internment, spoke about the "discrete and insular" minority. To be described as such, there was a consensus back then that the group would be located geographically in a "discrete" area and the choice of the group to interact almost exclusively with other members of the group made the group "insular." It may be true that there are still communities and neighborhoods in the city where Jews are more densely populated and the members of these communities chose to associate more so with other members of their group than others, it seems to me that the idea that Jews are "outsiders"- whether in politics or academia or any particular industry, has long been passe.

If you think of Jews as those with a common ethnic heritage versus Jews as those with a common religion, different pathways of thoughts emerge. One can convert to Judiasm and need not be from any particular ethnic group. If you are born to a particular ethnic group, however, that identification stays with you, even if you chose to live away from members of the same ethnic group and share values and beliefs that are not common to members of this group.

So my question is, "If Jews are no longer outsiders, does this mean Jews with a common ethnic heritage or Jews with a common religion?" And how does either identification affect how a person exercises their political voice, power and vote?

If Yassky and Green couldn't harness the common heritage of "Jews" -by any perception of the term, to get more than 45 % of the vote in a primary runoff, what does this mean for a "Jewish" candidate in the general election?

More to follow......

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