Religion & Beliefs

The Jews: Such a Well Behaved Minority

A few years ago, I became aware of a trend at a particular southern university.  Jews were said to be flocking to Nashville, and there was a rumor that this was NOT an organic occurance.  People said that Vanderbilt was specifically … Read More

By / April 13, 2007
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

A few years ago, I became aware of a trend at a particular southern university. 

Jews were said to be flocking to Nashville, and there was a rumor that this was NOT an organic occurance. 

People said that Vanderbilt was specifically recruiting Jews:

…Vanderbilt is energetically trying to increase its Jewish population. According to an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal, it's one of many U.S. universities trying to boost Jewish enrollment by encouraging the growth of Hillels and Jewish studies programs… Once locked out of top universities by quotas, Jews now are being courted by some upwardly mobile institutions, both for their high SAT averages — second only to Unitarians — and for their reputations as intellectual stars.

Now, this is nice and all. I'm glad to see Jews going to college, and I'm glad to know that "Jewish students, by culture and by ability and by the very nature of their liveliness, make a university a much more habitable place in terms of intellectual life". 

I certainly don't disagree myself.

But it makes me feel a little nervous…  I can't help feeling like stereotypes are dangerous, even when they're complimentary.  I can't help feeling like people have "invited Jews" into their communities in the past, for much the same reasons.  Because Jews are smart and literate, cultured. We seem to be good at making money. We make good alumni– give our money away to the institutions that support us.  We're "easy diversity".  Which is to say, we test well, keep our yards nice and neat, obey traffic laws. 

And let's be honest, we're white.  We're white multi-culturalism.

There's something about this that feels really wrong to me.   Although I should add that I love Nashville, and Vandy is an awesome school in a million ways (our own amazing Tamar is there, so it must be!).

But I wanted to let you know that this is happening…. and I wanted to ask what you think. 

Does this kind of recruitment sound funny to anyone else?  Does it make anyone else nervous?  Does anyone else dislike this kind of fawning stereotype?

Does anyone else mind being a "good Jew"?  Does anyone else think this is a creepy fundraising/development strategy?

(I don't want to link it, but when I googled "good Jew" I found a really really HORRIBLE site!!!)