Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-x

The Rutgers book series Key Words in Jewish Studies seeks to introduce students and scholars alike to vigorous developments in the field by exploring its terms. These words and phrases reference important concepts, issues, practices, events, and circumstances. But terms also refer to standards, even to preconditions; they patrol the boundaries of the field of Jewish studies. This series aims to transform outsiders into insiders and let insiders gain new perspectives on usages, some of which shift even as we apply them....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

When the editors of the Key Words in Jewish Studies series contacted me to ask if there was a term or phrase in the broad field of Jewish studies about which I could imagine writing an entire book, I took some time to ponder the prospect. Then, surprised by my own audacity, yet throwing all caution to the wind, I gave in to intellectual curiosity and wrote back with the query “How about Jew?” I knew that the proposition was both utterly apt (it is, after all, as “key” a term as one could wish) and utterly absurd (given that it represents one of those proverbial conceptual seas in which one could easily drown). But, most of all, I knew that it promised a challenging and enlightening adventure....

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Jew or Jew? A Note on Orthography

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pp. xiii-xvi

Throughout this book I have chosen to italicize the noun Jew. Jew in italics may be read as signifying a word, figure, person, allegory, metaphor, phantasm, caricature, synecdoche, image, stereotype, identity, persona, and the like. To what may be the consternation of many readers, I do not employ italics (or “scare quotes”), as opposed to roman type, to distinguish between real Jews—or “real” Jews—and Jew(s) as figment or figure, nor between Jew as self and Jew as other. It serves the critical aims of this study to keep all dimensions of the word Jew in provocative and, I hope, productive tension with one another. The same aim conditions the occasional merging of the singular (Jew) and plural (Jews) through the use of...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

A good friend in college once told me a story about his parents’ search for an apartment while his father was stationed at an army base in Louisiana during World War II. After much looking and many dead ends, the young couple found the perfect place and were wrapping up a congenial conversation with the prospective landlady when she came out with her final question: “You’re not Jews, are you? I don’t rent to Jews.” Without missing a beat, my friend’s father, so I am told, replied, “We’re Hebrews,” a response that apparently satisfied the landlady. A few days after having signed the long-term lease and moved in, the young couple were startled by a loud banging on their front door. They opened it to...

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1. Terms of Debate

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pp. 16-46

A decision regarding the juridical status of Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, handed down by the Imperial Court in Vienna in 1909, based on legislation from 1867, states:

Notwithstanding the views and aspirations of the Jews in Galicia and Bucovina concerning their juridical status in the state, the entire historical development of Austrian legislation with reference to their juridical status is that they are regarded and treated not as an ethnic group [Nationalität] but as Sons of the Mosaic Faith, a religious community [Religionsgesellschaft].1...

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2. State of the (Jew[ish]) Question

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pp. 47-96

A well-known scene in Woody Allen’s film Annie Hall finds Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, complaining to a friend (who addresses him as “Max”) about a recent conversation with some “guys from NBC.” Alvy recounts the troubling exchange: To his own innocent question “Did you eat yet, or what?” he hears the reply, as he puts it: “‘No; didjoo?’ Not, did you, didjoo eat? Jew? No, not did you eat, but Jew eat? Jew? You get it? Jew eat?” “Max,” replies his friend, “you see conspiracies in everything.”1...

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3. In a New Key: New Jew

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pp. 97-148

This final chapter takes as its starting point the word new as a key word modifying Jew(s). At the turn of the twentieth century, the phrase “new Jew” most forcefully served “to denote the growing distinction that Zionists made between the Jew of the Diaspora and the ‘new Jew’—the native Jew of Palestine,” popularly termed “Sabra.”1 In his book The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew, Oz Almog cites among prominent “Sabra characteristics” at that time: “a hatred of the Diaspora [and] a native sense of supremacy” over the land, over other peoples of the land, and especially over “Diaspora Jews.” Almog’s translator, Haim Watzman, adds that “Sabra society was very much based on masculine ideals.... The classic, influential, and familiar Sabras were men, and the mythic Sabra ideal... was explicitly a male one.”2...

Notes

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pp. 149-180

Index

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pp. 181-190

About the Author

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pp. 191-192