Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
7Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Jews in the Psyche of America

Jews in the Psyche of America

Ratings: (0)|Views: 53 |Likes:
Published by maasanova
A Jew discusses and boasts about the influence that Jewish culture has had on America.

"The American Jewish experience is unique. Singularly different from other Diaspora encounters, one struggles to understand all of the historical, political, and social factors that have contributed to this exceptional national phenomenon. Yet it is as much an individualized encounter with this society as it is a formal connection to the nation called "America." Just as American society has embraced Jews, American Jewry has fully identified with this nation's core values, thereby creating a unique and significant relationship."
A Jew discusses and boasts about the influence that Jewish culture has had on America.

"The American Jewish experience is unique. Singularly different from other Diaspora encounters, one struggles to understand all of the historical, political, and social factors that have contributed to this exceptional national phenomenon. Yet it is as much an individualized encounter with this society as it is a formal connection to the nation called "America." Just as American society has embraced Jews, American Jewry has fully identified with this nation's core values, thereby creating a unique and significant relationship."

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: maasanova on Jun 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

09/16/2010

pdf

text

original

 
Object2
Jews in the Psyche of America
 Steven Windmueller 
 
The American Jewish experience is unique. Singularly different from other Diasporaencounters, one struggles to understand all of the historical, political, and social factorsthat have contributed to this exceptional national phenomenon. Yet it is as much anindividualized encounter with this society as it is a formal connection to the nation called "America." Just as American society has embraced Jews, American Jewry has fullyidentified with this nation's core values, thereby creating a unique and significanrelationship.
 
Introduction: Defining the American Jewish Experience:
This past December when walking through shopping malls, and in fact thinking about this subjectmatter, I was immediately struck by store signs reading "Happy Holidays" rather than the moretraditional seasonal notices of "Merry Christmas." Listening to the holiday music being played, it became immediately obvious that along with traditional Christmas carols, one could hear Hanukkahsongs as well. The pluralistic nature of this society is reflected in how American business has come tounderstand the diversity of this country. This same access and acceptability can also be found withinAmerican popular culture: for example, Jewish humor has served as a bridge between American societyand Jewish ideas and values. Americans have come to embrace Jews. Language also reflects thisconnection: Yiddish terms have become an integral part of the nation's vocabulary. As one of mycolleagues suggested when describing this special connection that Jews have with American society,"Americans like us so much that they want to marry our sons and daughters."Five specific concepts are particularly significant in capturing the elements that uniquely define theAmerican-Jewish story:1.Framing the Political Engagement: "The Contract with America"2.Defining Moments within the American and Jewish Stories: Internal Challenges and ExternalThreats3.Emerging Social and Religious Pluralism: The Gateway to Understanding and Engagement4.Measuring Jewish Security: The Absence of anti-Semitism and Support for Israel5.Creating the "Civil Religion" of American Jewry
1. Framing the Political Engagement
a. The Ideal of American Citizenship
 
Object1
 
The very concept of American citizenship can help to provide an understanding of this nation'suniqueness and the opportunities readily made available to Jews and others:The United States is one of the few countries in the world that does not make citizenshipdependent on ancestry, on race, or on membership in a certain religious group. Instead,common principles and values that are enshrined in the country's constitution bind thecitizens of this country - regardless of race, class, or religious creed.... Consider the firstthree words of the Constitution - "We the People." Three seemingly innocuous and yet powerful words, here is the essence of why the United States was exceptional at the time of the Constitution's adoption - the insistence that the authority of government is not derivedfrom God or some higher authority, as was previously thought more or less common, butfrom the consent of the governed.[1]As with every ideal, the realities associated with any social system suggest that efforts to portray a perfect society are offset by a different and less appealing scenario. Societies, including the U.S., mustcontend with their own historic truths; exemplified in this case by slavery and the internment of theJapanese internment during the Second World War. Similarly, the economic elements of capitalismhave at times evidenced how the power of greed and corruption defy and undermine the principles of an open and fair marketplace; the Bernard Madoff affair sadly reflects this latter reality.
b. Constitutional Guarantees
Beyond the symbolic and personal statements of American leadership, the Constitutional principles of American democracy have clearly enabled and shaped Jewish political engagement. Among theunderpinnings basic to this nation's creation was the commitment of its founding fathers to ensurereligious liberty and church-state separation, as expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercisethereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably toassemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[2]Similarly, Article six of the Constitution contains a further political safeguard: it prohibits any form of a"religious test" as a qualification to hold public office.[3]
c. The Jewish Contract with America
A set of historical events have, over time, created a kind of mythology concerning Jewish participationin American society, suggesting a "special connection" between America and its Jewish citizens.With the election of its first President, George Washington, the Jewish congregations of the newrepublic issued a series of congratulatory letters; the Jewish community of Newport Rhode Islandreceived a return note from President Washington. It represents one of the most extraordinarystatements defining the ideals associated with American society and serves as an important element of this notion of a "contract" between the Jews and America:The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankindexamples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by
 
the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution noassistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as goodcitizens.[4]Washington's concluding paragraph perfectly expresses the ideal relationship between the government,its individual citizens and religious groups:May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit andenjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vineand fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.[5]Over time, other symbolic statements and defining actions would add to this contractual understanding,including Abraham Lincoln's decision to overturn General Grant's Order Number 11;[6] the actions of Presidents Grover Cleveland[7] and Theodore Roosevelt[8] on behalf of Russian Jewry; and,ultimately, President Harry Truman's decision to recognize the State of Israel.[9]American Jewry has so identified with the key social norms and political symbols of this society thatfrom the outset Jewish institutions reflected not only the core terminology of American society but alsothe structural characteristics of the federal government system itself. For example, various AmericanJewish organizations have taken on names with symbolic "American" references, including UnitedJewish Communities, American Jewish Congress, Union for Reform Judaism, and United Synagogueof America (USA). Similarly, the governance and structural functions of American Jewish institutionsall reflect two core elements: the use of a
 federalist system
involving national, regional or state, andlocal levels of governance; and the existence of 
 separation of powers
consisting of the distribution of assignments and roles among the various governing bodies.
2. Defining Moments within the American and Jewish Stories
a. Internal Opportunities, External Threats
These legal and social concepts are joined by a set of particular policies and defining moments thathave helped to shape and direct this experience. Initially, the tale must be told through the broad lens of images and expectations that were brought by immigrants to America. For Jews, from the outsetAmerica was identified as the "Golden Medine," that special and safe place devoid of oppression andreligious intolerance. The sense of total security and acceptance within American society, however,would emerge over time. In comparative terms, the American experience, even from the outset, wasunderstood to be a far more welcoming environment in comparison to the world of Eastern Europe, theformer home of most of those new arrivals.The vision of American abundance intertwined with the vision of America as a haven. InterpretingAmerican life in intensely spiritual terms, Jewish newcomers tended to view their new materialexistence as an integral part of the NewJerusalem.[10] It was in the post-Second World War era that the Jewish story in America was fundamentally redefinedand given both expression and direction. It was this period that enabled Jews to see themselves no

Activity (7)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
Bob Dobbs liked this
nurron liked this
liveclive304393 liked this
LoopyLou liked this
nurron liked this
liveclive304393 liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->