A Bad “Practice”

This past summer, the San Diego Jewish Journal published a nice cover story on intermarriage that prominently featured Ed Case, our CEO. Unfortunately, this month the magazine–where I was the founding editor–published a silly, insulting and misinformed column by their singles columnist titled “Shiksas Are for Practice.”

Here is the letter I sent to the Jewish Journal yesterday:

“Practice” Ain’t Perfect

According to the 2003 Jewish Community Study of San Diego, more than 30,000 non-Jews live in households with Jews. I wonder how they felt about Natalie Benjamin’s singles column, “Shiksas Are for Practice” (January 2009), which variously calls non-Jewish women “shiksas” and “Barbie” and says Jewish men who date them are looking for a “tall, skinny blonde with perky boobs, no butt and no brains.”

Of course, they were probably no less insulted than Jewish men–who “want a women who reminds them as little as possible about (sic) their mother”–or Jewish women, who were actually lauded for their ability to sniff out sales and dial caterers. If any of this were actually funny, one might forgive Ms. Benjamin, but it’s not–she’s simply recycling stereotypes that have been stale since before Adam Sandler first released the “Chanukah Song.”

On top of being insulting and unfunny, Ms. Benjamin’s column has its facts wrong. She references a 2001 survey that reportedly “found the Jewish population in the U.S. decreased by half a million people due to an interfaith marriage rate of 50 percent.” The survey that she is most likely referring to–the National Jewish Population Study 2000-01–has long been discredited as a reliable source for the total number of Jews in the U.S. Subsequent reports and meta-analyses of other population studies show that the American Jewish population actually increased by as much as a million people in the decade leading up to 2000. Is it possible that all that intermarriage actually led to an increase in the Jewish population? As Benjamin would say, “Go figure.”

-Micah Sachs
Director of Web Strategy
InterfaithFamily.com

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One thought on “A Bad “Practice”

  1. Micah,

    I applaude your writing the SDJJ a letter about this nonsense, and for doing it with a lot more tact and a lot less aggression than I think I would be capable of, having just read this “journalist”‘s article. Incidentally, I’d like to know her credentials — she’s a self-professed “journalist” for five years, but her writing and grammatical errors tell this ex-journalist otherwise. In any case, I too am shocked that any publication, Jewish or otherwise, would publish what reads like nothing more than sour grapes from a Jewish girl who can’t find a Jewish husband (and I say that because that’s obviously her goal, not because I think it should be her goal) riddled with stereotypes about Jews and gentiles alike. By way of example, I happen to be curvaceous, curly-haired, stubborn, smart-mouthed, and brunette, AND a gentile, and my Jewish husband was still attracted to me, much to Ms. Benjamin’s dismay I am sure. I realize some of her grips about blondes with no brains may be a product of her being on the West Coast, but still, her ramblings are truly ridiculous. They also happen to be totally ignorant, offensive, uninteresting, and, perhaps most importantly in the context of the publication, poorly written and totally unoriginal and un-newsworthy. I’d be greatly interested if you would share (either here or by way of email to me personally) any response you get from the SDJJ — they should be ashamed of the caliber of “journalist” they are employing.

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