The Insidious Strangeness of Life for European Jews

February 26, 2015 7:48 PM

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“Is it Jewish?” my mother, who was visiting from Germany, asked me last fall as we walked past a school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Before I had a chance to respond, she answered her own question: “Oh, it can’t be. No policemen!”

I, too, had once seen the world through similar eyes. Growing up in Germany, I had taken for granted that two policemen would inevitably guard any Jewish school, kindergarten, retirement home or house of worship. This constant reality served as a daily reminder that, being Jewish, our existence in G...

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