A Jew of Gentiles
In his essay “Concerning The Jews,” Mark Twain marvels over the historic ascendency of Jews in attempt to counter the burgeoning anti-semitism of his time:
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? (6)
In all its seeming marvel, like commentary stereotypes Jews as a homogeneous, insurmountable race and consequently alienates their kind, ignoring the deep empathies that constitute their identities. Even the Holocaust half-blinded audiences…show more content… in Shenker). Often they take the course readers most dread, but even in their failed ambition and unfulfilled desires, Malamud peels away what it means to be a human being to its very core, from one’s ethnic roots to moral responsibility toward all humanity.
When Bernard’s father, Max Malamud, emigrated to New York in the early 1900’s, he arrived penniless and dispirited, a condition seemingly little better than his homeland, Russia. However, here he was not persecuted for being Jewish, nor was he under the control of an unscrupulous leader: a fair yet grim trade to his understanding. He found his hope in consolation; he married Bertha Fidelman, another one of the million Jews who had fled Tsar Alexander III. They soon bore Bernard Malamud, the eldest of two sons, in the growing but fairly destitute city of Brooklyn on April 26, 1914. Despite their poor economic plight, Max and Bertha Malamud supported any and all academic endeavors Malamud pursued, a luxury they themselves never had. Consequently, Malamud’s boyhood, according to his account, was "comparatively happy, school making up somehow for a meager family life” (qtd. in World Authors). A self-motivated individual, he was a regular attendee at the Yiddish theater and a budding writer; he considered his surname, derived from the Yiddish word, malamed, meaning “teacher,” to be a desirable fate, and one that would eventually come true (Davis 8). However, even his name seemed to be twinged with destined tribulation,