Subject:  The Invisible Jew

Posted by Dr. Ursula A. Falk

Posted 11/2/00

The invisible Jew is one you do not see.  He or she is the poor Jew who cannot join the country club, attend  theaters and symphonies or even join the synagogue.  He is not the doctor, lawyer or stockbroker who is sought after and admired by his fellow religionists.  He comes in many shapes and sizes.  He or she is the person who works in the factory or is a clerk in a supermarket or drug store.  He is not invited to boards since he cannot contribute money as he has none to give.  In fact no one even knows he exists.  He will not beg for a free ticket  for the high holidays or embarrass himself by appearing before a committee to determine whether he is worthy of taking up a seat in a temple.  She does not have the wardrobe to impress others nor the funds to visit the beauty parlor to have her hair coiffed.  She may be the immigrant whose English is flawed, or the shy one who feels out of place.  If she does appear in the synagogue or other Jewish meeting  room she is ignored since she can "do nothing" to further the interests of others.  She is unable to get them introductions to important people, help them to make worthwhile contacts or enhance their status in the community.   She is a threat since she has needs and wants and might even contaminate them with her poverty.  They may be superficially polite and nod to her from a distance but for the most part they donít recognize her at all.

He is the person who lives in a small apartment in the inner city or even is in an upper story dwelling which he rents from others who need a tenant.  He is unable to send his children to Harvard, Yale or Princeton and is not written up for his accomplishments in the local Jewish newspaper; in short he is a non-person.  Since we cannot see him he is indeed the invisible Jew. 

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