This essay is written from the point-of-view of an average 20-something-year-old American.
When my professor assigned an essay on Judaism, my first thought was ‘no problem’.
My second thought was wondering if what I already knew would be enough. After all, I have had some world history classes, read books and newspapers, watched world news once in a while, listened to people talk, and occasionally cruised some websites. As a result of this intellectual activity, I have some background knowledge without looking up any references. That could be just enough without doing a lot of extra work. Undeterred, I started writing.
Jews, whoever they are, have been vilified, persecuted, and killed by Christians and Muslims for centuries. I do not remember hearing or reading of any conflicts between Jews and Asian religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism – but there may have been some trouble, except with the Dalai Lama of course. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Hitler and Nazi Germany sent millions of Jews from Europe and Russia to concentration camps and slaughtered them in a frenzy called the Holocaust. (Schindler’s List was an awesome movie.) Some bigoted people think there is a well-hidden conspiracy of Jewish bankers and intellectuals that are controlling the actions of the United States government and/or the world. (Many so-called thriller novels are based on disproving this; turns out it’s always another, even more sinister, right-wing cabal.) The state of Israel was founded shortly after World War II, and has been fighting with other Middle Eastern countries and Muslims ever since. The United States always supports and allies itself with Israel, even if our country criticizes and is unhappy with Israeli actions. Trying to get Israel at peace with other countries is probably the main job of our over-worked Secretary of State. A lot of comedians are Jewish, though not as many as there used to be. Jewish Americans are generally smarter and...