Jews, Milton Himmelfarb famously observed, earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans. What the Jewish American sociologist meant, in a 1973 article for Commentary magazine, was this: despite ranking among the wealthiest citizens, most American Jews still largely identified with the least successful members of society.

Actually, it would have been a surprise if they hadn’t. For the past two millennia, being a Jew has invariably meant being an outsider – a tolerated, second-class citizen at best; a much maligned, persecuted soul at worst. A few decades of relative prosperity in America had not altered that fact.


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