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1858669

1858669

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At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews by Deborah Dash MooreReview by: Myron Berman
The American Historical Review,
Vol. 86, No. 5 (Dec., 1981), pp. 1164-1165Published by:
on behalf of the
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This content downloaded from 146.96.33.29 on Mon, 8 Apr 2013 10:39:41 AMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
1164Reviewsf Books
meltingot wasalive andbubblingn thepre-WorldWar I era.Unlikemost tudiesf ntermarriage,
heMeltingPot andtheAltar
uses statewideources atherhantherecordsf a single ityr county oexaminetssubject;hus,Bernard'sindingsfferruraloun-terpointo theurban-centeredcholarshipmostcommonlyncountered.his focus rovesaluablesince,nfact, ntermarriageas morecommonnWisconsin'sural ountieshaninthe cities. uchfactorss therelative ize,ime f rrival,ndoccu-pationaltatus fthemembersfthe tate'sariousethnic roupsre alsoexaminedwithn eyetowardtheirorrelation ithmarriagerends.Here,Ber-nard'sfindings reinterestingor theirnconsis-tency;nosinglettribute,r clusterfattributes,accountedor he behaviorf themembersfWis-consin'smajorgroups.Always resentedithin hecontextfexistingcholarshipn itsubject,onsis-tentlyarefulnd modestnitsclaims,
TheMeltingPot and theAltar
s a usefulontributionotheitera-tureftheAmericanthnic xperience.There is, however,disappointmentere.Ber-nardintroducesis studyby notinghat mostre-centccountsocusloselyntheviabilityfethnicgroups,ommunities,nd institutions,otoninter-marriage.ethe fails ouse hisfindingss a vehicleforreinterpretingur assumptionsoncerninghedurabilityf ethnic eparatism.nthesepages,n-termarriageeemsimplyo be aninterestingutrelativelynconsequentialhenomenon.his unfor-tunateituationerivesrom ernard'secisionostophisscrutinyfmarriage atternstthe altar.Didintermarriedouples eparatehemselvesromtheirespectivethnic ommunities?erethey,nasense,thniclumni,who had graduatedfromethnicity?r, perhaps,weretheye-absorbedntooneor anotheroftheethniccommunitiesromwhichheyadcome?uchquestionsre amenabletoexamination;nastudyfthisypehey ughtohavebeen asked.With their mission,heimpactandsignificancefntermarriagenasociety rem-isedon ethnicity annotbeassessed.While
TheMeltingotandtheAltar s
abookthat cholarson-cernedwith theAmerican thnicexperiencewillfind seful,hisreviewerould havelikedto haveseenuchquestionst leastposed,venfdefinitiveanswerswerenowhere o befound.
RALPHJANIS
Kentuckyumanitiesouncil
DEBORAHDASH MOORE.
At Home n America: econdGen-erationew Yorkews.(ColumbiaHistoryofUrban
Life.)NewYork:ColumbiaUniversity ress.1981.Pp. xiii,303. $15.95.Deborah Dash Moorehas writtenhe first olumein the"Columbia History f UrbanLife" series.Completelyonversantith the statistical ndin-terpretative ethodologyf henewhistory,he has provided s with n insightntotheivesof mmi-grants' hildren. nlike he plethora f volumes o-
manticizing the World f Our Fathersr the "gilded
ghetto" f theirgrandchildren,t Home n Americaconcentratesn themoreprosaic ursuitsftheec-ond generation.ather hanfindingstateof vol-untaryultural mnesiamongthesubjectsnderinvestigations compared o thereturnf the thirdgeneration o the ideals of their grandparents,Moorefindscontinuityfvaluesamongthegen-erations.The thrust fthe uthor s an examination f theinstitutions ashionedby second-generation ewYorkJewsnthe mage of theirnewenvironment.Acculturationnd socialmobilityere alient har-acteristicsfthat generation,hich maintainedremarkable enseof ethnicity. ontributingo theassimilationf the children fghettoarentswasthe public chool.Unlikethecontemporaryxperi- mentwiththe mechanism f foreignanguages o bufferhe transition rommmigrantoAmerican,public choolsnthe 1920s isapprovedftheuse ofYiddish,hemajor mode of expressionf the EastEuropeanJew, and denigratedts culturalpoten-tial.While heformerpproachacilitatedhentryofnewAmericansntoociety,t didcreateonflictsamongthegenerationsndfosteredheneglectftraditionalaluesnecessaryor hepreservationffamily, eligion,nd morality.Whatfosteredhereassertionfethnicitymongthe secondgenerationas there-establishment,nnewareasofNew YorkCity, faresidence atternofvoluntaryegregationshadpreviouslyxistedintheLower EastSideofManhattan.Thesyna-goguebecame Americanized s a functionofmiddle-class eedswith he goal ofbelonging up-planting he former anifestationf religious urorandnostalgiaor he valuesof the oldcountry.o-liticalnvolvementf secondgenerationew YorkJewseflectedrbanneedsnd thedesireorocialreform atherhan thedoctrinaire oliticsf theirimmigrant arents.Notwithstandingheimpressivease that wasmadebytheauthorfor he contiguous eighbor-hoodas aprimarymolder fthnic alues,he over-lookshefactorfcommondentityrpeoplehoodas a creatorf culturalvalues.Althoughhe de-scribesngreatdetail the influencefMordecaiKaplaninthedevelopmentf thesynagogue-cen-ter,hecouldhaveprofitablyppliedhis definitionofJudaisms apeople-orientedeligionoexplainthegenesisfethnicvaluesamongsecond-genera-tionJews.hat residentialontiguitynhanced th-nicitys obviousbut thatproximityo fellow th-nicsdid notnecessarily romotethatdegreeofcohesionmongothermmigrant roupss itdidamongtheJews uggestshatanewenvironmentdoes notcompletely xplainthe reassertionfeth-
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