BRITAIN: Word Worry

Who is a Jew? Talmudic scholars, rabbinical courts and even the Israeli Cabinet have long argued the question.

The English language has answers of its own—some of them offensive to Jew and non-Jew alike. For 35 years the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Britain's equivalent to the American B'nai B'rith, has tried to persuade lexicographers to change certain definitions in dictionaries. It has had scant luck with the editors of the magisterial Oxford English Dictionary, the most complete and authoritative record in existence of what English is and has been. Next month...

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