November 18, 2004

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Who's this 'we,' Kemosabe?

Shoshana Cardin addresses the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities:

"I have always felt that we are guests in a host country. The calendar is Christian. We are guests in a wonderful, wonderful society because we are free to worship as we feel. But once again, we are afraid."

Remarks like these strike me as a tad hysterical. Does feeling at home depend on the majority agreeing with your political agenda? It's an odd conflation of Jewish peoplehood and the Democratic Party platform. Would Cardin thus feel "not at home" in Israel, where the religious right controls marriage and social status issues; gender equity and sexual harrassment awareness are about 10 years behind the United States; and the security forces are often accused of over-reaching in their war on terror?
The Shoah, I think, established the terms for at-homeness, a la Robert Frost: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

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