As a trope, "Jewish guilt" only came onto the world stage in the
19th century with increasing secular readership of Jew-written
novels and plays. As an actual construct in Jewish relationships,
the deep-seated desire of Jewish children to please their mother
and the strong, sustained way that mothers get their children to
perform their duties have been hallmarks of the Jewish family for
generations. It helped to maintain strong family units and solidify
observance of Jewish Law.
"Jewish guilt" is a stereotype. It plays unkindly upon the close relationship of family members in the Jewish culture and the importance of the mother in the family structure.
There are two ways that the term "Jewish guilt" is used. Christian Bloodguilt: Jewish Guilt is ascribed to the Jewish population in perpetuity by non Jews for supposedly putting the Son of God to death. Namely executing Jesus Christ on the cross. Although it was the Jewish mob that wanted his death, it was actually the occupying Roman forces who performed the deed. Yet I've never heard of any Italian guilt ascribed in a similar fashion for their part in the death of Christ. Go figure. Jewish Mothers There is a strong cultural sense among Jews that a mother's will should be respected. When a child refuses their mother's wish, the mother may appeal to the child's sense of dignity and their conscience. The child will often feel very bad for this disagreement, which causes guilt. This is sometimes called Jewish Guilt. Uh...are you following me?
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