Non-Jewish American Politicians of Jewish Descent:

Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Barry Goldwater, Wesley Clark, Casper Weinberger, William Cohen, and, apparently, George Allen. All prominent non-Jewish politicians with recent Jewish heritage. This makes me wonder about how many Americans there are who have at least one Jewish grandparent, but who aren't Jewish, and about how many of these Jewish parents or grandparents hid their origins from their families, as did Albright's parents, John Kerry's grandparents, and perhaps Allen's mom. It seems like hiding this information was not uncommon in prior generations; one of my grandfather's first cousins had a falling out with his family, changed his name, moved to the Midwest, married a Christian, and never told his children or grandchildren about his origins, though they knew that "something was funny" about their family history (we found this out when a cousin was tracking people down for a family reunion.) I don't begrudge anyone who leaves the Jewish fold for whatever reason, but there is something downright creepy (because it suggests either shame or fear) about going out of one's way to avoid telling your kids that your family was Jewish.