Peer soon fell into a wonderful life with the voice teacher. There was a performance every week, a quartet to be exact. They played Beethoven and they played Mozart. Peer loved every minute of it. He also began to sing again as well.
Peer often went to church with his mother and grandmother, but his voice teacher never went. Finally, one day Peer asked him why. Peer had always assumed that the voice teacher was a Christian, but the voice teacher told him otherwise. As it turned out, the voice teacher was Jewish. He told Peer not to tell anybody. There were not many Jews around. The voice teacher admonished Peer to read the Talmud to learn more about the world. Peer also found out that it had not been the merchant who had been his benefactor, it had been the voice teacher.
This story was published in 1870 and you may think that people got along with Jewish people great back then, but that just isn’t the case. Jews have literally had to hide in Europe for hundreds of years. Jews moved to Europe from their homeland for various reasons and had to assimilate in the largely Christian population. Anyone who wasn’t Christian was frowned upon, but up until Martin Luther and his era, anyone who wasn’t Catholic was frowned upon. Being a Christian was acceptable in 1870, it didn’t necessarily matter what type of Christian you were, whether Catholic or Protestant, God forbid you were a Mormon in Europe back in the latter 1800s. In the eyes of the public, being a Christian was better than being a Jew.
Peer is now learning about prejudice. His voice teacher has to hide anything outwardly Jewish and appear as a Christian. He does this in order to not be discriminated against. Discrimination is a powerful thing. It can lose you a reputation; it can lose you money; it can lose you your life. It’s nothing to play around with. If a person knows that something they are is going to be openly discriminated against, they’re going to try to hide it as much as possible.
Peer doesn’t seem too concerned about his voice teacher being a Jew. This shows that Peer really is an open-minded and accepting person. The people who have raised him, thus far, have been doing a pretty good job of it.
Peer is learning a lot about the world.
Do you imagine this situation will end well?
Do you think being in a close friendship with a Jew will serve Peer well in the future?