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Download In Search of American Jewish Culture (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life) eBook

by Stephen J. Whitfield

Download In Search of American Jewish Culture (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life) eBook
ISBN:
1584651717
Author:
Stephen J. Whitfield
Category:
World
Language:
English
Publisher:
Brandeis; 1st edition (October 1, 2001)
Pages:
333 pages
EPUB book:
1818 kb
FB2 book:
1542 kb
DJVU:
1763 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.7
Votes:
351


If an American Jewish culture is verifiable, is it more American or more Jewish? .

Faith in an invisible God blossomed into an affinity for the intangibles of culture.

Published October 1st 2001 by Brandeis University Press (first published August 1st 1999). Faith in an invisible God blossomed into an affinity for the intangibles of culture.

This series encompasses all areas of American Jewish civilization, including history, religion, thought, politics, economics .

This series encompasses all areas of American Jewish civilization, including history, religion, thought, politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, literature, and the arts. Alternatives to Assimilation The Response of Reform Judaism to American Culture, 1840–1930 Explores the influence of American culture and history on the development of Reform Jewish institutions. Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life

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In drama and in musical comedy, in popular song and in symphonic music, in movies and in literature, Jews have contributed to American culture in the 20th century to a degree out of all proportion to their numbers. But does this vast creative output coalesce into something identifiable as an American Jewish culture? Stephen J. Whitfield answers this question with a resounding "yes!"Whitfield focuses on areas where the specifically Jewish contribution has been little explored. He surveys such fields as popular music, musical theater, and drama, focusing on key figures from Jerome Kern and the Gershwins to Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins; Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland to Irving Berlin and Bob Dylan; Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman to David Mamet and Wendy Wasserstein.At the same time, Whitfield tackles the complex issue of race and American Jewish culture, tracing the extensive interpenetrations of Jewish and African American music. He also offers a stunning examination of Jewish American representations of the Holocaust, focusing on stage and film adaptations of Anne Frank's Diary and on Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.In a poignant, final chapter, Whitfield ponders the future of American Jewish culture after a century of assimilationist pressure and mainstream success. The distinctive culture that he has traced through the 20th century, Whitfield concludes, may finally become submerged and lost. Only a renewed emphasis on Judaism itself, he believes, offers the hope for American Jews to maintain the dual cultural identities that they have so long succeeded in nurturing.
  • cyrexoff
Having just finished reading Dr. Whitfield's AMERICAN SPACE JEWISH TIME, this reviewer was prepared for the mind adjustment certain to be provided to the reader in IN SEARCH OF AMERICAN JEWISH CULTURE. The author poses in this volume the question of whether there is, or isn't, an American Jewish culture? If there is, how can it be identified and described? If an American Jewish culture is verifiable, is it more American or more Jewish? This reviewer is a broadly assimilated Jewess, more observant in her younger years than in her current life, never questioning if there is or isn't an American Jewish culture. There just is. Everyone the reviewer knows well -- Jew or gentile -- knows there is. Given the chance to describe or explain it, however, poses a new question in every attempt. Barely a quarter of the way into the book, a paradigm shift is expected. Such was the gift in Professor Whitfield's earlier book. This well-researched and beautifully written scholarly text is also surprisingly witty and genuinely humorous.
  • Direbringer
If Oscar Wilde was right when, as quoted In Search of American Jewish Culture, he said that Jews, "only believe in things that you cannot see," then author Stephen J. Whitfield not only punctuates an argument with precision but captures the 4,000 year-old central theme of Jewish life. Faith in an invisible God blossomed into an affinity for the intangibles of culture.
Whitfield's writing --- concise, clear and flowing --- displays an impressive command and synthesis of the topic. After examining basics of Jewish culture, Brandies University Professor Whitfield turns to musical theatre, music and theatre. At times, he breezes through arguments and, at times, focuses on specifics , such as Leonard Nemoy over Jewish cultural artifacts in Star Trek. A chapter on Jewish-Black relations overstates. Another chapter, on "Faith," inadequately explores Jewish theology.
Whitfield's presentation of the Holocaust is most remarkable and extremely engaging. An initial decades long silence moved from the starkness of Eli Weisel to popularizations about Anne Frank and Oscar Schindler; newer books, plays and movies dabble in the horror while avoiding the cold, cruel heart at the center. He asks: Was the Holocaust a crime against all humanity or a particular Jewish story? Above all, Whitfield boldly enters into the inexplicable without making the futile effort to try to fully explain what cannot be understood.
On the whole, the book demonstrates that Jews are a distinct people with a robust culture.

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross serves at Temple Emanuel of Worcester, Massachusetts. His latest book is God in Our Relationships: Spirituality between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber. His website is [...] God in Our Relationships: Spirituality Between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber]]
Pittsfield, MA