It is about the anti-Semitism of prosperous post-war America and the insidious way in which Jews were excluded from high-level social clubs, resorts and, of course, jobs. There have been no official bans, just a nod and a nod and a ”gentleman`s agreement” between nice conservatives they know the kind of people they want to be associated with. This is the kind of everyday prejudice that Groucho Marx elegantly dismissed with his joke that he did not want to join a club that would have him as a member. Philip Schuyler Green, a widowed journalist, comes from California to New York with his son Tommy and his mother to work for Smith`s Weekly, a leading national magazine. John Minify, the publisher, wants Phil to write a series about anti-Semitism, but Phil is lukewarm about commissioning. At one party, Phil Minify`s niece meets Kathy Lacy, a divorcee to whom Phil is attracted, and Kathy reminds her uncle that she proposed the series some time ago. Tommy asks his father about anti-Semitism, and when Phil has trouble explaining it, he decides to accept the mission. But he is frustrated by his inability to find a satisfactory approach, because he and Minify want the series to go beyond simply unmasking the crackpot mentality. After trying to imagine what his childhood Jewish friend Dave Goldman, who is now in the army abroad, must feel when he sees bigotry, Phil decides to write from the perspective of a Jew. However, he continued to find it difficult to write until he realized that certain things could never be known until they were discovered first-hand, and that the only way to have the necessary experience was to appear Jewish in the eyes of others.
When Minify announces the series of a Luncheon group, Phil incidentally mentions that he is Jewish. Later, Phil learns from his new secretary that she was told there were no posts in the magazine when she applied under her real name Estelle Walofsky, but when she applied again with Ethel Wales, she got the job. On his first day as a Jew, Phil becomes the target of defamation and learns discriminatory rules in his building. When he talks to Kathy, whom he fell in love with, about his ”Winkel” story, she is at first confused that he can really be Jewish. The next day, the human resources director of Minify magazine was reprimanded for his policy of not hiring Jewish secretaries, and it was said that any future announcement should contain the line ”Religion is a matter of indifference.” But when Miss Wales learns of the change in politics, phil the fear that a Jew ”kikey” will ruin things for her is led to declare that he hates both anti-Semitism from her as from a nice man. Later, Kathy, with whom Phil is now engaged, tells Phil that her sister Jane in Darien, Connecticut, has threw a party for her next Saturday, and Phil reluctantly agrees to let Kathy tell Jane about the confusion. When Kathy asked Phil not to discuss anti-Semitism at his sister`s party, Phil and Kathy refused to insult him as an argumentor. Soon after, Dave arrives in town on vacation to find a home, as he has been offered a job in the area.
When Phil tells him about the show and tells him that as a Jew, he ”rubs his nose and doesn`t like the smell,” Dave says he`s not ”isolated yet.” Phil and Dave meet Anne at a restaurant where a drunken patron calls Dave a ”yid” and Dave forcibly evicts the man. After that, Phil gets a call from Kathy saying she`s in Connecticut to face Jane. When Phil comes to Darien for Jane`s party, he is surprised that the guests are interested in the series, but Kathy does not reveal that Jane scanned the guests and invited only the ”safe”. Two days before Phil and Kathy`s wedding, Anne`s couple learn that the Flume Inn, where they are planning a honeymoon, is ”limited,” meaning Jews are not allowed, but if Phil`s mother has a small stroke, the marriage is still postponed.