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Mindy Meyer, a nice Jewish girl, is running for New York State Senate. Upon seeing her picture, I joked that she reminded me of “Legally Blonde“, but it turns out she actually was inspired by that story. Meyer is 22-years-old and has been interested in politics since she was eleven and a half. Her hot-pink website blares LMFAO “Sexy and I know it”, and says in leopard-print letters “Diva of the District”. Her sparkling slogan is “I’m senator and I know it”. Everything about her screams “I’m young and inexperienced!” Meyer wears her inexperience as a badge of pride. “I can tell you one thing,” she said. “I have no experience in corruption.” (I’m not sure if she is trying to imply that experienced senators are all corrupt, or just innocently stating that she is not.) She knows her audience is the youth vote, which is why she doesn’t mind having a website that looks juvenile and unprofessional. Mindy Meyer seems to have clear goals, and a desire to get things done. She wants to “crack down on crime”, specifically domestic violence, create youth employment programs, and ensure the right to choose where to send one’s children to school, but prevent women’s right to choose to birth an unwanted child. (It’s possible that I do not share her views on this last issue, but I’m trying to keep politics out of this…)

While I applaud Meyer’s initiative, creativity, and activism, I do not quite understand why she is running for senate at such a young age. Why does she not finish her law degree first? Why not get some experience in politics before going ahead and running for office? In the several interviews that I watched her give, she was able to clearly express her points, but was not as well spoken as she could be with a bit of experience under her belt. Perhaps running now is a way to get some publicity as well as experience, even in the event of a loss. Once she has more years behind her and has worked towards accomplishing some of her goals outside of the Senate, people will remember her as the spunky kid who tried to run for State Senate and, inspired by her passion to improve her district, will happily vote for her.

What do you think?


I’ve never watched HBO’s True Blood, but after hearing a bit of buzz and reading this article, I watched this clip to see what the fuss was about that made the author so upset.

Marjorie Ingall wrote that she was disappointed with the show because the first reference to something Jewish, after having ignored Jews for four seasons, is a character chanting in what she refers to as “bastardized Hebrew” during a blood-letting/consuming ritual. She makes the case that the show is comparing Jews to vampires in several subtle ways, which is inappropriate given the Jewish history with blood libels.

While I think that most of the comparison is grasping at straws, the part of her argument that is weakest and actually even made me a bit upset is that the ritual is not chanted in Hebrew at all. While watching the clip, I quickly recognized the language of the chant as Aramaic. How embarrassing for Ingall. Perhaps next time she should do some research before crying “wolf” in her witch-hunt for anti-Semites.

Ingall’s little faux pas got me thinking about how Jews are represented in the TV shows I’ve been watching lately. It’s not clear to me why she was so bothered by a lack of Jewish representation in a show about vampires (especially when she got upset at the first reference because it’s insensitive to the blood libels to connect Jews to vampires). Many television shows include a token Jewish character. Often these characters are represented with some sort of (usually) inoffensive stereotypes, and nobody really feels the need to get insulted and point out the anti-Semitism of portraying a Jew as a successful doctor, lawyer, banker or physicist who still lives with his overbearing mother. Although I usually find humor in the stereotypical television Jew, I do not find a show to be lacking if it leaves out the Jewish guy.

In the past weeks, I’ve enjoyed all three seasons of The Good Wife (which I recommend, if you’re looking for a new show). One of the characters, Eli Gold, is a good Jew. When Eli was first introduced in the show, I admit that I was expecting him to be portrayed as rather sleazy. Like Ingall, I have a tendency to assume that when Jews are stereotyped on TV it’s going to be full of negativity and make us all look bad. But it turns out that not only does the show represent Eli as an upstanding, honest character with a tendency to lean towards the moral and correct path, they also include several references to the Middle-East conflict. The first time Israel was mentioned my heart almost skipped a beat. I was entirely certain that they would make Israel out be the bad guys. Much to my surprise, the writers managed to stay impressively neutral and portray both sides in what seemed to me a fairly unbiased perspective. The part of this that I found to be most incredible was the way that Eli’s character interacted with a leader of the Muslim community. When the characters initially meet, the Muslim asks Eli, a crisis manager, to help fix the Palestinian image following a protest in which things went awry. Eli responds, “You know I’m Jewish, right?” The two go on to work together, and in the end we see that Jews and Muslims can, in fact, overcome differences and get along. There is even another example of that in the same episode, but I do not want to spoil it for you, as it’s a great show and you should watch it.

But I digress. My point is that sometimes Jews are represented in television in a negative light, other times quite positively and occasionally not at all. There is no need to dig deep into the roots of the writers’ psyches to find some way of making them terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad anti-Semites. It’s a show about vampires, for goodness sake! It’s not necessary to play the victim and write a three-page article condemning the show for it’s use of Aramaic.

August 2019
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