When I was a kid in the late 1950s and early 1960s, anti-Semitism in the United States was well on the decline. Institutionally it already was nearing extinction, save for the odd country club or other private organization that openly or by way of reputation made it clear that Jews were not welcome.

Yet the memory of anti-Semitism – especially from a period when Jews as a whole were just finding their way in the US, and were subject to genteel quotas and outright hostility – was still palpable. It had been such a formative experience that my grandmother, who came to America as a little girl at the turn of the 20th century, would still, many decades later, lower her voice in public when the conversation turned to Jews or Judaism.

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