The origin of the expression “working like a Hebrew slave”

Below the statue of Rameses II are pictures of captive slaves.

Below the statue of Rameses II are pictures of captive slaves.


About a month ago, I wrote to Jewish Daily Forward columnist Philologos on an expression I was seeing often on Twitter, some variation on being worked “like a Hebrew slave.” (As I post this, there have been 10 references on Twitter in the last 24 hours.)

As I wrote Philologos,

I monitor certain search items related to Judaism on social media, and recently I came across the expression ‘worked like a Hebrew slave’ for the first time. It looks like it might be more frequently used in the African-American community. I wonder what are your thoughts on it.

The question is the subject of Philologos’ fantastic new article, “Did Tennessee Titans Bernard Pollard Slip Up on ‘Hebrew Slaves’ Remark?

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1 Comment

  1. Alla Kaplan

     /  November 25, 2013

    I have been around African Americans all my life and although I understand the meaning of the phrase I still feel it is demeaning and derrogatory to Jews. My pesonal view is that it means you are a fool or stupid for working so much or so hard and you should work SMARTnot HARD. If you’re working TOO hard you’re a slave. Just my opinion.

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