Saturday, October 03, 2009


All Jews Are liberals and communists I’ve heard
I cud tell you my parents were communists
but what good would that do, it wasn’t true
they weren’t even very liberal
Not either one of them, I could tell
you all about them, and it’s all very sad
and no one wants to keep hearing how bad
it was anymore anyway, i mean what’s the point
Get over it, we’ve all been there done that

Although I’m not a typical Jew
and other jews don’t recognize my Jewishness
still I’m jewish through and through

My mother bragged she was descended
from a long line of philanthropists
and rabbis, her family permitted
her to learn the skill of bookkeeping
because she was supposed to be an old maid
instead she fell in love, and married my Dad
and so really, all she ever did
was care for and raise us four children
She struggled as much as she could
after the trials & tribulations of her cancer

My father was a violin player who at age 11
was forced to be a pharmacist’s apprentice
and his claim to fame was thrown away
so he could help support his family
My dad played his violin under an angel’s gaze
the notes were pure, sweet and desolate
Portraying his spirit longing for escape

Dad was a dreamer when he met mom
and charmed her into marrying him
Her family disowned her then and sat shiva
An orthodox Jew doesn’t marry a man
Who’s been married before and had a son
Even if he is a Jew too

So in spite of my being a full
blooded Jew on both sides
and growing up going with Mom
to synagogue and hearing all the prayers
on every one of the big holidays
and listening to all the yiddish euphemisms

I don’t know much about being a Jewess
since I’ve always hung with Schvartzes
and all the other goyim and such,
who seem to like having me around
most times, anyway, more than my own kind

All non Jews always consider me Jewish
and wish me “Mozel Tov” in my ventures
while fellow Jews just look at me strangely
It’s now become a theme in my life

©Joy Leftow 2006


  1. Are we defined through our associations, genes, or by other people's opinions? Self definition is a peculiar business. Do I need to project my personal self definition in a tee shirt or bumper sticker? Do I need a definition? Am I a liberal, a Frenchman, a poet... I don't know. Maybe I don't even deserve a definition. These are great words that promoted introspection.

  2. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Why do people believe that someone else needs their approval in order for them to be themselves? Why does anyone who questions your Jewishness believe that their opinion matters? As much as I like to think that I've divorced myself from needing anyone else's approval, the truth is that the opinions of others do matter to me. I'm not proud of that, but the truth is the truth. I find myself constantly working to place my own opinion of myself on a much higher plane than the opinions of others. I've made great strides, and I hope you are not troubled overmuch by the strange looks from other Jews. Yours is the only approval that matters.

  3. Levi Wagenmaker10:27 AM

    The part of my student days spent living in Amsterdam saw that city, with its population on the wane, gain new blood through the influx of what are now called migrants, and at the time (with political incorrectness still unrecognised as such, but in expressions rampant) were with a cynical euphemism described as ´guest labour´ - implying that they´d leave once they´d have outstayed the welcome of economic necessity. First they came mainly from Greece, Spain and Italy, and later on from Turkey and Morocco (most of them stayed, and are now into their third generation) One of my friends, Abrasha, was born in Dutch The Hague, into a Dutch nationality, and spoke impeccable Dutch, but looked so Jewish that most Dutchpersons took him to be a ´guest labourer´. Only the Moroccans were more discerning. Abrasha married a beautiful naturally blonde Jewish girl - and the other day I read an article describing research providing some evidence for mixed marriages between converted Russian gentiles and Russian Jews. I can also remember from long ago what a Dutch Jewish journalist wrote, in answer to the question, ´Who´s Jewish?´ His thought that someone who felt to be Jewish had to be Jewish. If I were you, I shouldn´t be unduly worried by getting strange looks from other Jews - some of them failed to do the same when confronted with Madoff. Not all that discerning.