This was a 600 word rant that I just nuked because it wasn't flowing the way I wanted it to, so I started over. The question I posed in the title is Do you represent all Jews also known as do non-Jews make their evaluation/judgement of who Jews are based upon their experience with you.
It is an old discussion and one that in general I find to be very distasteful. There is something very wrong about basing an opinion about a group of people based upon the behavior of one person.
For example, it is wrong to judge all Black people based upon your opinion of Michael Jordan or for that matter Michael Jackson. I wouldn't do it and I am teaching my children to develop their thoughts/feelings/opinion about people based upon the person and not some shallow observation.
Yet it seems that all too frequently I have been engaged in a discussion by fellow MOTs about our responsibility to show the world who we are and what we are like. That if we act poorly, if we do not serve as a good dugma we are hurting other Jews.
It just irks me to no end. I'd say that I hate it but that is far too strong a word so I am not going to use it, but it gives a sense of just how distasteful I find this to be.
And now my sad confession. If I am reading the newspaper or listening to the news and I hear/read a Jewish sounding name I take an extra moment to find out what the story is. If the person that they speak of is a suspect or has been convicted of a crime I cross my fingers and hope that I find out that I am mistaken and that they are not a M.O.T. And of course if it is something cool than I want to hear that they are part of the tribe.
It is a bit of a contradiction, but that is part of being human, the desire to pick and choose, the will to take the good and eliminate the bad.
In a utopian society this dialogue wouldn't exist because we would not judge each other based upon anything but the merit/actions of the individual. Even though we do not live in that world now, there is no reason that we cannot work towards it.
We do not plant trees for ourselves, but for our children, grandchildren and the people that come after us.
(Cross posted on The Jewish Connection)