I found Steve Lipman’s front-page article about the hyphen in Jewish-American and American-Jew very interesting (“The Power Of A Hyphen,” Jan. 4). In a similar light, somebody in the audience at a Jewish event once objected to being called “Jewish.” The audience was shocked.
He explained that any word with an “ish” at the end means it isn’t the real thing (if something is bluish it is not really blue). He felt it was important to proclaim his identity with a noun, as a Jew, and not an adjective. To take it one grammatical step further, being a Jew, especially in America today, requires a commitment, and therefore must become a verb. Thus, the challenge is to regularly ask ourselves the question “How do you Jew?” and try to do it better every day.
Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island