Anti-Semitism Or Lack Of Proofreading?
The Lakewood Observer appreciates Mr. Edelstein's letter and shares all proper concern over any anti-Semitic implications suggested by a typographical error that needlessly foregrounds gentile rather than genteel. In Volume 3, Issue 3 of the Lakewood Observer, Herbert Gold brought to the front page with "Lakewood, Ohio, 1930s" the difficult history that Lakewood's gentile imagination can uncharitably impose on Jewish neighbors. Please forgive the error.
Having recently moved to Lakewood, I sent my 84-year-old mother a copy of the Lakewood Observer to give her a flavor of my new community. Imagine my surprise when she phoned to tell me that I need to move immediately before something terrible happens to me and my family at the hands of "the anti-Semites".
After I calmed her, she read aloud from the article "Another Accolade for Lakewood" (LO, Vol. 6, Issue 25). Of special concern was the "special feeling of warmth and welcoming atmosphere and the richness of a diversified neighborhood teeming with the gentile activities of daily life" (emphasis added). No matter how hard I tried to convince her otherwise, she is convinced that Lakewood is proudly promoting itself as a non-Jewish community, with shades of Nazi Germany leading up to and during the war. She was shocked at the brazenness of the statement. The last time she saw teeming gentiles, they were wearing jackboots.
Yes, the writing is somewhat difficult to follow, but I cannot for the life of me understand how such a sentiment can be acceptable in a supposedly "tolerant" community. I hope this is just a misuse of the word "gentile". Perhaps Mr. or Ms. Updegrove might have simply referenced "teeming with religious activities" instead, however awkward the sentence. At least it would not offend Jews, who are far too few in number to "teem".
Please excuse both my mother and me if we seem overly sensitive on this issue.