I’m a Jew, and Jews (like members of any well-known group) run into misconceptions about themselves even from people who aren’t anti-Jewish.
One mistake that’s surprised me: Jews see Jesus as an honored, respected part of our history. I can’t speak for all Jews –– we’re a contentious people who’ll argue with each other as easily as with Gentiles –– but mainstream Jewish tradition (as opposed to offshoots like Messianic Jews or Jews for Jesus) considers Jesus a false prophet. A lot of us like much of what he had to say about mercy and tolerance, but the idea that he was a messiah, the son of God, or God himself: Forget it. He’s an offshoot from Jewish tradition, not part of it.
Another whopper: The Torah’s not part of the Bible. The Torah –– the word means “teaching,” “instructions” or, more broadly, “law” –– is the first five books of the Bible, Genesis through Deuteronomy. It’s the first part of what Christians call the Old Testament, which Jews sometimes call the Hebrew Bible. Jewish tradition splits the rest of the OT/HB into two parts: Nevi’im, or Prophets (Joshua through Malachi), and Ketuvim, or Writings (Psalms through Chronicles). Jews abbreviate Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim as Tanak or Tanakh, although sometimes they say “Torah” when they mean the Tanakh. But it’s all part of the Bible.
And we don’t have horns. That idea seems most common in areas without a lot of Jews. I’ve never run into it, but some of my fellow Jews have. It strikes me as especially dumb, because a quick glance at Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, or Zac Efron (yes, they’re all Jewish by ancestry if not by practice) reveals them as hornless. But it’s hard to kill foolish ideas even with obvious evidence.
Happy Passover, everyone.