Yesterday I watched a biography of Susan Sontag. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t read (or watched) any of her work before and her name kept coming up in articles, musicals, I was ready to see what the fuss was about and HboGo had a documentary.
I’m glad I watched it in general, she was certainly a fascinating woman.
But to me, the most important moment in the movie wasn’t about feminism or sexuality, it was about being a Jew.
I get asked a lot what it means to me to be Jewish and I never have a good answer. Well, now I know what my answer is.
Interviewer: Being Jewish—does it matter to you?
Sontag: It matters in the sense that I would always stand up and be counted any time that it mattered for other people. I’m Jewish because other people say I am and because that’s what I am sociologically or historically. I come from a family which generations ago belonged to a religious culture. [x]
I’m a Jew when it matters to other people, when it has mattered and when it matters again.
And that’s what makes Anti-semetic attacks scary, they’re on just that kind of Jew, which is to say all of them.
To be a Jew you don’t have to believe in G-d, only in being Jewish.