Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

The Family That Argues Together...

My post today on Jewcy:

Today my guy told me about a bit Jon Stewart did on why Jews argue. Apparently, a "reporter" goes and asks a bunch of Jews why they argue all the time, and they start arguing about who should answer the question and whether Jews argue any more than anyone else.

We both cracked up because, well, I like to tend to argue and my son's father doesn't. I've been trying to stop and it's the hardest thing ever. Way harder than probability and statistics class in high school, and a quibillion times harder than the LSAT I took a few years months ago when I was thinking about going to law school. It's so hard that I've often wondered if I have a neurological tic that turns even the simplest request into a passionate, two-hour debate.

In the beginning of our relationship, I explained it was cultural. It's a Jewish thing, I told my mate-to-be. We have strong opinions about everything. You should see us at the dinner table, I said. No one agrees on anything--where we should sit, whether the lighting is too bright or too dim, if the food is overpriced or genius, if my sister should cut her hair. Our willingness to dig deep over trivial matters is a sign of commitment, I told him. It shows we care enough to engage at a deep level.

Arguing, I said. It's how we love.

To which he replied, I'm not Jewish and I don't like to argue because it raises my blood pressure and I want to have a calm, peaceful life. You can go out into the world and argue your a** off, but for God's sake, when you come home, can't we just get along?

Which, in my argumentative state of mind (tangentially related to Billy Joel's New York Jewish state of mind, btw) sounded like: Jews are crazy, can't you just be normal and not Jewish when you're at home? Which made me mumble something about him not liking Jews, which was awful, inaccurate, and the furthest thing from the truth.

But I was arguing. Who said I had to be rational? Terrible logic, I know. A heinous lapse. I'm still apologizing.

But back to Jon Stewart and laughing together about the pop cultural confirmation of what I've been saying all along. No, I wasn't bat mitzvahed. No I don't speak Yiddish or Hebrew. But yes, yes, I love a good back and forth. So sue me. 

Ironically, it was a great moment. A love moment. A moment of acceptance. A cross-cultural moment. A moment of peace. A, dare I say it, family moment.


February 19th, 2009


Comment #1 by DJ on February 19, 2009 - 3:38pm

What a great and certainly relatable piece! My best friend and I two days ago were just talking about how easy it is to find fault (and consequently be angered) with our spouses if we searched. Sometimes, the temptation to fault-find, especially when we aren't at a good place ourselves, can be o' so overwhelming! by the way, I will be in Oakland for a conference May 20-26: will you be doing any speaking nearby? Also, on the web, do you have your speaking schedule listed in detail somewhere? O, and congrats on the new book; can't wait to read it.

Comment #2 by rebecca on February 20, 2009 - 9:53am
hey! no plans to be in speaking sched coming soon. thanks on the book! let me know what you think. peace and love.
Comment #3 by Anonymous on February 21, 2009 - 2:35pm

Arguing..isn't it called discourse? :-) The production of knowledge, with some added temperament and emotion. I love it. Has its roots in the talmud and leaves so many avenues and possibilities for all parties to be right in the end, which I feel is very satisfying. And yes, why not be emotional about something- we are human beings after all.
My friend from Naples, Italy is convinced, however, that arguing is a South Italian thing, not a Jewish trait! My mum and I always argue and we end up laughing most of the time, so it must not bear negative associations.

Comment #4 by rebecca on February 21, 2009 - 7:36pm

Lol. This is from the comments in Jewcy. I had to post here, it was so perfect:

Argue with Ismail!

Why give grief privately to an intimate who is uncomfortable with the dialectic when you can publicly take a wrong-headed clod to task instead?

The internets are the best place for arguing. What an outlet. We should take advantage of that so as to make our off-line relationships even more selective and harmonious.

Works for me.

But then again, maybe it helps to use a pseudonym.


Comment #5 by Anonymous on May 4, 2009 - 2:15am

debates are intimate and sexy.

Comment #6 by Health on May 3, 2014 - 8:37pm

I really like looking through a post that will make people think.
Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

Comment #7 by kent wedding photography on May 4, 2014 - 5:29pm

Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with?
I'm looking to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having a
tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for
something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <i> <strong> <b> <u> <del> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <a>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options