‘Mad Men’ needs its Jewess


Yes, I confess, JTA’s editor in chief has been spending too much time plowing through the first five seasons of "Lost." And now "Mad Men" is set to return for its third season (might have to drop "24" from the rotation, or hire a second managing editor).

Why do I mention all of this?

Because over at The Forward’s Sisterhood blog, Sarah Seltzer makes a very important point: "Mad Men" needs to "Bring Back the Smart, Scrupulous, Sultry Jewess":

As early-60s ad-world drama “Mad Men” gears up for its third season, I have an almost obsessive desire to Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff), return to the show. Rachel is the Jewish career woman and sultry beauty who has come closest of all the show’s women to genuinely stealing Don Draper’s heart. …

More than just being a tribute to the attractiveness of independent-minded Jewish women, the Draper-Menken affair is a commentary on the place of Jews in the American myth. Rachel sees that Don understands what it is to be an outsider, and uses that to break down his prejudice. She speaks candidly to Don about the Jewish experience — being the daughter of immigrants, her feelings towards Israel — and he eventually sees himself in her story. She’s no longer “the other.”

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