The Normalization of American Jewish History (Part One: Reflections Upon American Jewish History)
American Jewish History 2003, Sept-Dec, 91, 3-4
American Jewish History
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When I was a student some thirty-five years ago in one of the premier Ph.D. programs in Jewish history, at Columbia University, it was clear that American Jewish history fell outside the parameters of the field. True, one could study Jews as part of American history, but the American Jewish experience was in no way integral to the study of Jewish history. For one thing, opting for residence in America meant abandoning Jewish languages; American .Jews had demonstrated loyalty neither to Yiddish nor to Hebrew. For another, Jews in America, it was argued, had produced no great thinkers contributing to the enrichment of what was deemed to be an unbroken tradition of Jewish culture. The American Jewish community was also too new to assert a claim to lasting historical significance. Moreover, its historical scholarship was dominated by filio-pietistic writings that were designed to make American Jews feel good about themselves. All that has changed, particularly in the past twenty-five years or so. What I am calling the "normalization of American Jewish history" has been shaped by broad historical forces, by developments in the understanding of the Jewish experience, and by the production of a considerable body of first-rate scholarship in the field of American Jewish history.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Social Science
- Published: 01 September 2003
- Publisher: American Jewish Historical Society
- Print Length: 11 Pages
- Language: English