Burt Prelutsky
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Nothing that I have ever written has provoked as huge a response as a piece I wrote recently called “The Jewish Grinch That Stole Christmas.”

In the article, which brought me roughly ten times as much e-mail as I’m accustomed to, I suggested that my fellow Jews were at the forefront in waging war on the values and traditions of Christian Americans.

Predictably enough, the response from gentiles was uniformly positive. The feedback from Jews was somewhat less positive, roughly split between those who admired my courage and those who accused me of being a turncoat. What I found most telling was that those who damned me didn’t, as a rule, refute what I had written; they were merely angry that a Jew had written the piece. They accused me of lending aid and comfort to bigots.

Because I make it a rule to write back to anyone who writes me, and because I assume that those who took the time and trouble to write were representative of many more who didn’t, I’d like to share some of my responses.

The term that nearly every Jew used in condemning me was “a self-hating anti- Semite.” A few accused me of not really being a Jew. That didn’t mean they thought I was a Catholic or a Baptist flying under false colors; no, they meant that my sole claim to being Jewish was that my ancestors were Jewish. The fact is, they’re right.

As I have written on other occasions, I am not a religious man. I do not keep kosher. I do not help make up the morning minyan at the local synagogue. I do not even attend High Holiday services. So what? I’m Jewish because I say I’m Jewish. And because, quite frankly, with my face, who would believe me if I bothered to deny it? Furthermore, most Jews in America are not orthodox and can not read Hebrew or even speak Yiddish. For the most part, American Jews are circumcised, have a bar mitzvah, attend a reformed or conservative temple twice a year, and vote the straight Democratic ticket.

Also, I say I’m Jewish because I don’t wish to offend the memory of my parents by denying their religion and the religion of their parents.

Finally, I say I’m Jewish because Hitler would have said I was Jewish, and then sent me off to Auschwitz, if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have been born in America.

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