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.”
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