In life, there is a common ground on which most every person can relate. At one time or another, we have all been promoters of or victims of the unremitting nature of stereotypes. According to the Webster’s dictionary, a stereotype is defined as “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group.” Most stereotypes take on a negative form and are based on characteristics such as age, gender, race, status, and personal beliefs. Generally speaking, the greatest problem that arises with stereotypes is that they judge group of people by the characteristics and actions of their ancestors, rather than on an individual basis. More often than not, these assumptions will cause people to draw false conclusions about a person’s true character. One stereotype that developed in ancient times and has lasted throughout the centuries is that of the “greedy Jew.” Over the course of history, the Jews have discovered first-hand the destructive and gruesome effects that stereotyping has on a vulnerable people. The Jews have been and will continue to be objects of stereotyping unless something is done to stop it.
The stereotypical Jew of today embodies a variety of definitive qualities. When most people think of a Jew, they think of a person with olive brown skin, curly dark hair, thick lips, large eyes, facial hair (for the men), and a strong, hook-like nose. They also may envision someone short in size, wearing a zippah (a circular-shaped skullcap), with words like “Mazal Tov” or “Shalom” being at the top of their vocabulary list. The Jews have “learned by experience to develop skills in professions dependent on intellectual talents,” which is the reason why many Jews...
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...future generations strive to do the same.
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