The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part 2 by Kenneth Kann To read Part 1, click here.   I CONDUCTED hundreds more interviews in the years ahead: the children of the immigrants, the grandchildren, and the new suburban settlers who inherited the community. The immigrant children were the generation of my own American-born parents. Here was an assimilation drama. They grew up […]

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Heinrich Heine and His Cousin, Karl Marx

by Marty Roth I have since then learned to value them [Jews] better, and, if every kind of pride of birth were not a foolish contradiction in a champion of revolution and democratic principles, the writer of these pages might be proud that his ancestors belonged to the noble House of Israel, that he is […]

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Zemirovsky’s Flight from the Juif

ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMULATION by Zelda Gamson Discussed in this essay: The Nemirovsky Question: The Life, Death and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in 20th-Century France, by Susan Rubin Suleiman. Yale University Press, 2016, 376 pages. from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   THE LIFE could have made a good novel, and she might even have […]

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The Familiar Unease of Khanike

by Jesse A. Myerson   OY, IT’S KHANIKE again, and a familiar unease has come creeping into my kishkes. To some extent, I’m annoyed about the overemphasis on a minor holiday in order to compensate ourselves for our exclusion from Christmastime cheer. Mostly, though, my discomfort stems from the troubling legacy of the historical events Khanike commemorates. […]

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Why Be Anything? Why Be Jewish?

THE JEWISH-UNIVERSALIST DILEMMA by Adam Chalom from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   ONE HUNDRED and thirty years ago, a new language was born. It had regular rules and simple grammar, and could be learned in one tenth the time it takes to learn English. The inventor of Esperanto was a Polish Jewish doctor […]

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Allan Sherman, “Folksinger”

Song parodist Allan Sherman (born Allan Copelon — he took his mother’s birth name after his parents’ divorce), was born in Chicago on this date in 1924. His 1962 debut song-parody record, My Son, the Folksinger, became the fastest-selling album until that time. Sherman’s strength was in setting silly lyrics to classical music (as in “Hello Muddah, hello Faddah, here […]

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Jewish Identity Without “Otherness”

RESISTING THE LURE OF “WHITENESS” by Michael Mirer From the Spring 2017 issue of Jewish Currents TO DEFINE Jewish American identity is to invite disagreement. Each definition threatens to efface or minimize some aspect of the American Jewish experience that may be essential to someone else. Religious Jews, perhaps, can agree to a narrow definition: Jews […]

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Immigrant Names and Issues of Assimilation

OBSERVATIONS ON CONTEMPORARY NAMING PRACTICES by Joel Shatzky As an adjunct professor at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY for the last decade (after a thirty-seven year career at SUNY, Cortland), I have noticed trends in students’ names that seem to reveal their parents’ desire to establish a sense of identity distinctly of their own choice. This is in some […]

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Abie’s Irish Rose

Abie’s Irish Rose, a play about a young Irish woman and a young Jewish man who marry despite the objections of their families, premiered at Broadway’s Fulton Theater on this date in 1922. It would run for  2,327 performances until October 1, 1927, a record that would not be broken until Hello, Dolly! came to the stage in […]

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Jewish Berlin, Within and Beyond the Cemetery

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: Berlin For Jews, by Leonard Barkan. University of Chicago Press, 2017, 191 pages. LEONARD BARKAN is a Jew who loves Berlin, particularly Jewish Berlin, and he offers his reader a deft and charming prose style, an eye for ambiguity, paradox and irony, and a wealth of research (both on […]

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