All Jews Are Ashkenazi – TV Tropes

Posted By on November 24, 2017

If there is a Jew in any mainstream media (and the odds are better than you might think), he or she will most likely be portrayed as Ashkenazi, even when that portrayal does not fit that character's background or the setting. Oy vey!This means that the Jew will be apparently of Central or Eastern European descent, will probably eat gefilte fish and bagels with lox, and may drop Yiddish words into their speech. The names of Jews will almost always end with -berg, -man, or -stein or contain the syllable "Gold". These "Jewish names" are actually Germanic names adopted by Ashkenazi Jews (the trend began with 18th century Austrian officials forcing Jews to adopt local last names to resident Jews who were still following the patrimonial formatnotee.g. Abraham, son of Tevye. The trope is so pervasive that viewers from outside Germany, Poland or Russia tend to think only Jews have these names.In real life, while seventy to eighty percent of the world's Jewish population are in fact Ashkenazim, there are many other Jewish ethnicities, including the Sephardim (Iberian), the Mizrahim (Middle-Eastern; there may, depending on who's counting, be more Mizrahim in Israel than Ashkenazim), the Temanim (those from Yemen in particular), the Kaifeng Jews (Chinese), and the Habashim (Ethiopian). Indeed, there are Jews from almost every country and culture, with their own distinct names and customs. And this is not even counting converts, who can (and do) come from every cultural background imaginable.The trope has its origins in America, where Jewish culture, especially in New York and Los Angeles, is dominated by Ashkenazi tradition. This was not always so, however. In 1850, the considerable majority of Jews living in English-speaking countries were Sephardim, which can make works from this period with Jewish characters a bit confusing (even leaving aside the near-constant antisemitism). It was only in the late 19th and early 20th century that a great number of Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to the United States (and to a lesser extent, Western Europe) to flee from persecution in eastern Europe. The trope is also used to avoid leaving viewers wondering why a given character behaves like a Jew but looks like an Arab.In historical works, this can sometimes be a case of Translation Convention.note For example, the Jewish innkeeper in I, Claudius presumably spoke Latin with a recognizably Jewish accent of that era (based on his native Aramaic or Eastern-Mediterranean-Greek); arguably, having the character speak with a cliche Yiddish accent was a simple way to depict this, like giving the low-class Roman soldiers Cockney accents.Note that this trope is not about the simple presence of Ashkenazi Jews in a work, but rather about the implicit or explicit assumption that all Jews are of Eastern European descent (e.g. by having Jewish characters speaking with Yiddish accents where their background and/or time period would make this improbable). Please do not add examples along the lines of "Character X is Ashkenazi" when it is nothing remarkable. Similarly, it's not worth listing an "aversion" if a work just happens to have a Jew who's Sephardi or Mizrachi.Comic Books

These new immigrants were a crude and noisy people. But they were intelligent, resourceful and innovative, an ideal trait for life in this big and open country that was often crude and noisy itself but where opportunity was so abundant. The hard-working newcomers thrived. They were Ashkenazis, just one rung below the Sephardics on the Jewish social ladder.

Hah! A dentist with a college degree she wants yet!

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All Jews Are Ashkenazi - TV Tropes

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