The Schmooze

Old and Grey and Only in the Way

Earlier this week, Michael Wex, author of “The Frumkiss Family Business,” wrote about writing about intermarriage and being the kvetch guy. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog series. For more information on the series, please visit:


I had the misfortune last night to turn on the television just as some self-appointed spokesman for today’s hip, young Jewish culture was saying that certain Jewish approaches to the outside world might have been all right, oh, for people of Mordecai Richler‘s generation, but this idea of the Jew as somehow outside of mainstream North American society was — winced the shmendrick — dated, as relevant to today’s Jewish experience as country music.

Well, I don’t know. I grew up in an Orthodox family in a small town in southern Alberta, not far from the Montana border, and spoke nothing but Yiddish at home. My hometown was the kind of place where country singers like Hank Snow and Wilf Carter were more popular than Jesus — for the simple reason that my father, who ran a furniture store that also sold records, refused to stock any gospel L.P.s.

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Old and Grey and Only in the Way

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