Jews, East European -- New York (State) -- New York -- Periodicals -- History -- 20th century.
Jews, East European -- New York (State) -- New York -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
Jews, East European -- Cultural assimilation -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
Jews are often summoned as the model diasporic group in the academy, but few understand how the concept of diaspora actually informed Jewish immigrant identity in early-twentieth-century America. Both popular folklore and scholarship portray Jewish life, culture, and identity as shaped exclusively by Jews' diasporic mentality rooted in their dispersal from the Land of Israel. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, the mass migration of Jews from Eastern Europe reshaped Jews' understanding of exile and diaspora. Using a transnational lens, this article examines the newspapers created by one group of East European Jewish immigrants, all of whom hailed from the city of Bialystok in northeastern Poland, focusing on immigrants' depictions of Eastern Europe and their imagined relationship to it. Through a close reading of the pages of the Bialystoker Stimme (The Voice of Bialystok), a newspaper launched in New York in 1921 and read throughout the world, I argue that the depictions contained in these Yiddish newspapers belie the standard, static view of Jewish diasporic identity in America. Some East European Jews saw America as exile and themselves as still anchored in the crucible of Eastern Europe—fundamentally challenging long-standing notions of how Jews conceptualized the state of being in exile prevalent in scholarship in Diaspora studies and American Jewish history.
Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe to lands overseas from the start of the twentieth century until the outbreak of World War I encompassed more than 1.5 million Jews seeking to flee the unbearable socioeconomic conditions that were their lot in the Russian Empire. Hundreds of thousands of these migrants were women and children who left to join their husbands and fathers already in the destination countries. This article traces the multifaceted migration process undergone by the Jewish immigrant woman—from her role in the decision-making process about where to move, to that fateful moment when she receives the tickets for the voyage from her husband and sets out on her way.
Jewish women, immigration, Eastern Europe, international migration
S. Y. Abramovitsh's two novels, Ba-yamim ha-hem (Of Bygone Days) and Shloyme reb khayims (Shloyme the Son of Khayim), Yiddish and Hebrew versions of the same novel, have been read by critics across the ideological spectrum as sentimental novels, not central to the author's corpus. This article offers a reconsideration of these novels, arguing that they represent Abramovitsh's attempt to transform himself into a modern Jewish writer, moving away from his longtime narrative persona, Mendele the Book Peddler, and creating Shlomo, the modern Jewish writer. In these works, Abramovitsh grapples with the loss of the traditional social context for his writing by embracing new aesthetic forms, including a new narrative persona and a nostalgic third-person narrative voice. Nostalgia in Abramovitsh's late works is not merely romantic sentimentality but also a conscious literary strategy to cope with the rapid pace of social and cultural transformation.
S. Y. Abramovitsh, Ba-yamim ha-hem, Shloyme reb khayims, nostalgia, Hebrew and Yiddish literature
American literature -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism.
Self-hate (Psychology) in literature.
This article asks how and why the concept of "Jewish self-hatred" came into theoretical, social scientific, literary, and critical vogue in 1940s and 1950s America. It argues that the proliferating public discourse on Jewish self-hatred grew out of three overlapping developments. First was the influence of psychological experts on American public life. Second was the influence of German Jewish émigré intellectuals like Kurt Lewin in giving social scientific legitimacy to the idea of Jewish self-hatred. Third was the polemical deployment of the concept of Jewish self-hatred and the idea of "the authoritarian personality" in the Jewish Cold War—a contentious public debate among defenders of Jewish particularism and Jewish nationalism, on the one hand, and proponents of liberal universalism, on the other. This debate revolved around questions of Jewish group loyalty, survival, and belonging, and it included figures as diverse as Ludwig Lewisohn, David Riesman, Philip Roth, Clement Greenberg, and Harold Rosenberg.
Jewish self-hatred, authoritarian personality, Jewish identity discourse, Cold War, Kurt Lewin, David Riesman, Philip Roth, Clement Greenberg
Orthodox Judaism -- United States -- Liturgy -- History -- 20th century.
Jews, East European -- United States -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Synagogues -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Conservative Judaism -- History -- 20th century.
The late Friday night service—usually conducted at 8 p.m. throughout the year—has been seen as a significant ritual difference distinguishing Conservative from Orthodox synagogue practice in twentieth-century America. Yet, in the 1920s–1940s, during an era of denominational indistinctiveness, some Orthodox congregations ignored the regulations of the Code of Jewish Law and followed what the Conservatives did. More generally, American Orthodox synagogues experimented with reaching potential Friday night worshippers without violating the halakhah. They created "forums" or quasi-services of varying sorts. In the early post–World War II period, as denominational lines calcified, some Orthodox congregations that had emulated Conservative practice gravitated toward that movement. Other Orthodox synagogues abandoned full-fledged late Friday night services. Still, "forums" continued to be part of the national Orthodox scene into the 1950s. In the 1980s, late Friday night experiences returned to American Orthodoxy's agenda as it sought to influence disconnected Jews.
Jewish college teachers -- United States -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
Antisemitism in education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Charity organization -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
In the 1930s, American educators reacted defensively when philanthropic foundations and relief committees tried to assist refugee scholars—victims of the Nazi dictatorship's "racial" and political purge of the German universities and scientific research institutes—in obtaining academic appointments in the United States. Despite the existence of antisemitic prejudice, a large number of scholars in the Central European migration were able to resume their professional careers in American colleges and universities. What accounts for their successful integration into the institutions of higher education, and how were the barriers of discrimination against Jews in faculty appointments broken? Beyond the talents and adaptability of the refugee scholars, this article discusses the role of American philanthropy, especially the distinctive contributions of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, and the changing perceptions of these immigrants within the American academic community between 1933 and 1945.
refugee scholars, American universities, antisemitism, philanthropy
Brazovski, Shalom Noah, 1910 or 11- Netivot Shalom (Pirke Avot)
Zionism -- Israel.
Jews -- Identity.
Jewish diaspora -- Political aspects.
This article explores the perception of Israel and Zionism in the diasporic imagination. I argue that the dominance of Israel as a tool of diasporic Jewish identity has impeded Diaspora Jews from developing their own identity alongside, yet distinct from, Israel. I use the work of Edward Said and the late Slonimer Rebbe, Shalom Noah Barzofsky, as lenses through which to view the notion of exile as a positive and constructive social and ideological posture. I challenge the progressive Jewish attempt to erase "exile" as a category and replace it with the more tepid "Diaspora." I argue that diasporic Jews are indeed living in exile—not as refugees but as expatriates—and this exile should be a positive part of their identity, used to create new avenues of Jewish expression in the contemporary world.
Diaspora, exile, Zionism, Edward Said, Shalom Noah Barzofsky, Slonim