Hiding Jewish Identity

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk



It's Too Jewish


This is a term that I recently heard in this, the twenty-first century in America. “It's too Jewish” is a phrase that took me back to Nazi Germany where Jews attempted unsuccessfully to hide their Jewish heritage in an attempt to foil the Hitlerian tactics which ultimately meant annihilation of six million of our brethren.

I learned a great deal from the era that raised criminals, “Brown Shirts”, concentration camp guards, and various assortments of a nation full of venomous individuals, as so accurately described in Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners.  It did not help to hide our identity.  Why must we continue this practice in our wonderful land?  We have every reason to be proud of our heritage, so why repeat history and encourage our own demise?  Let us instead inform the world, our world, that we are truly the “Chosen People”, not fearful, self hating, self destructive bigots who prefer to join the majority and deny the essence of our very being.  Like a number of minorities, we are self haters and accept the hostility, the lies, and the denigration that others have attributed to us.  Let us remember that we are a people of the book, that alcoholics are rare, that we have great men and women in our midst who have bettered the world, have contributed to the survival of humanity, have discovered great things, and through ambition and hard work have contributed and produced.  We have a high percentage of physicians, scientists, academicians/researchers, and scholars, etc. in our midst.  I will mention here only  a small number of names to illustrate this fact.  Albert Einstein, the Man of the Century, is the most well known name of this group. His theory of relativity changed much that benefit us today. There is Jonas Salk, who invented the polio vaccine that saved uncountable lives. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, began a new and intuitive method of attacking psycho-pathology. There are the composers Strauss, whose music brought joy to millions of music lovers.  To name a few other composers and artists: Leonard Bernstein, Jehuda Menuin, Yitzchak Perlman. There was the famous baseball hero, Hank Greenberg,  the Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and a host of other celebrities and famous people too numerous to mention.

We no longer need to hide.  We must carry our background and our culture with pride and solidarity. What we have today is what we earned.  They are our achievements; nothing was “handed” to us through osmosis or through a magic formula.  We have earned our status by our wits, by our sweat and efforts. We have not looked to receive money and other earthly goods by faulty claims or imaginary disabilities.  We are a small group of people in this country, one point eight percent of three hundred million Americans. We are patriotic, love this, our country, and are generous to the poor among us, be they Jewish or otherwise.  We have suffered throughout history and been scapegoated but have survived.  Let us remember not to be self destructive and play into the hands of our enemies by avoiding places, actions or people with the thought that:  It’s too Jewish!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).

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