The Atlantic

'I Married a Jew,' 80 Years Later

An Atlantic essay published in 1939 found its modern counterpart in a much-criticized Washington Post piece published in 2018.
Source: Bettmann / Getty

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece that was lambasted on social media, a writer named Carey Purcell wrote that she was done dating Jewish men after two previous relationships ended poorly. “I’ve optimistically begun interfaith relationships with an open mind twice, only to become the last woman these men dated before settling down with a nice Jewish girl,” she explains. “At almost every event I go to, [Jewish men] approach me,” she writes later in the piece. “As flattered as I am, I don’t welcome the complications and potential heartbreak I’ve experienced back into my life.”

Purcell’s article—with its descriptions of her -y manners and almost 80 years ago, in an essay for our January 1939 issue simply and provocatively titled “.” The author of that essay, whose identity was kept secret, reflects on her relationship with love and some pride, even as she delves into the religious and ethnic tensions that make it fraught.

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