I go through at least one bib a day trying to feed mushed up vegetables to my six-month-old baby girl. I don’t have cutesy bibs with funny sayings. It just never seemed like a necessary purchase. No one would ever see them, and they’d be stained with carrots forever.
That said, there are cute Jewish baby bibs out there, like “Shayna Punim,” “Got Matza,” and “I’m not crying, I’m davening.” And if you want to give baby Lisa one as a gift, she’ll wear it and stain it orange proudly.
You see, I’m not the Holocaust survivor generation of Jews. My third cousin is a survivor of Auschwitz, and I’ve interviewed him about the terrors of his experience. But his stories feel very distant to me, foreign from the privilege and peace I’ve grown up with.
And I’m not my parents’ or grandparents’ generation of Jews who experienced anti-Semitism on a regular basis. Graffiti, taunts, quotas to go to the University, abuse at the hands of their peers, employers, or professors, you name it; anti-Semitism pervaded their lives. I, luckily, have experienced very little of that.
That’s why my eyes bug out and I get shivers when I see my generation’s anti-Semitism. And it’s a special brand. It’s usually subtle. It’s waved off as a joke or a mistake (“They didn’t mean it that way”) when it’s neither.
Titled “Future Doctor – Jewish Baby Bib” and “Future Lawyer – Jewish Baby Bib” these bibs are a gag gift gone terribly, horribly, offensively wrong. The description for each promises: “The perfect bib to dress up your darling’s outfit at synagogue or dinner with grandma,” but it’s hard to imagine anyone putting such a bib on their child.
Instead of a mini stethoscope or a scale of justice, the bibs each proclaim “Future Doctor” or “Future Lawyer” next to pictures of money.
Ah, the wealthy Jew stereotype. Here we go again. And again. The stereotype has been around for thousands of years, ever since the church restricted professions available to Jews so that the only ones left were those connected to money — usury, money-lending, etc.
Aside from the stereotype, what are my Jewish values? Well, I want my daughter to be successful, yes. In whatever field she chooses to pursue, whether that’s as an artist or a scholar. Maybe she will be a doctor or a lawyer. But if she is, it will be because she has a passion for Tikkun Olam, for repairing the world. For changing lives. For healing people and businesses. For transforming public policy. For making sick people better.
Don’t laugh away these bibs. Amazon has removed products and sellers from its website in the past due to customer feedback, and significant numbers of negative reviews.
Go to the bibs’ Amazon.com Reviews and speak your mind. Go to Amazon.com’s Contact Us page and submit your concern.
Do it for my daughter. For the next generation. For all of us.
UPDATE: The titles for these two products have been updated from “Jewish Baby Bib – Future Lawyer” to “Baby Bib – Future Lawyer.” However, the product descriptions still include offensive text: “The perfect bib to dress up your darling’s outfit at synagogue or dinner with grandma.”