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Table of contents

Jews have not always promoted integration. In fact, Jewish studies emerged as a discipline in the nineteenth century in order to criticize the Christian bias inherent in the term Judeo-Christian and to suggest Jews' distinct contributions to Western philosophy and history.

Jewish studies in America can learn from ethnic studies to remember and value this strand of its own past. Perhaps women's studies presents a good model for what Jewish studies should attempt to achieve: As examples like these demonstrate, Jews are often caught between fervent affirmation of the Enlightenment and criticism of it. Many Jews believe that the replacement of the Enlightenment ideal of universalism with a politics of difference and a fragmented "multiculture" would constitute a threat to Jewish achievement.

At the same time, they recognize the dangers of a homogeneous "monoculture" for Jewish particularity. As insiders who are also outsiders, they seek to rescue the virtues of the Enlightenment from the shards of its failures and salvage an inclusive vision from multiculturalism, where fragmentation and divisiveness now reign.

How to save multiculturalism from some of its own excesses and weaknesses is a question that has begun to preoccupy critics increasingly uneasy with what is sometimes caricatured as a "culture of complaint. The Fraying of America New York: Many of these arguments have been made by neoconservatives who oppose multiculturalism out of indifference or even hostility to the claims of the marginalized.

But these points have also been raised by those with a great deal of sympathy for the goals of multiculturalism, some of whom have tried to articulate what they call a "critical multiculturalism. A Critical Reader Oxford: Basil Blackwell, , Also see Werner Sollors, Beyond Ethnicity: The present book is intended to contribute to this recent literature, which challenges and enriches the theories of multiculturalism.


Stephen Scott | LibraryThing

It is neither a complaint against multiculturalism by Jews who feel somehow excluded nor, from the other side, a celebration of multicultural theory as a potential savior. Rutgers University Press, , and Brettschneider, ed. Rutgers University Press, One such area explored in this book is the politics of identity, which too often assumes that a monolithic and inherited identity should dictate political action. Multicultural theorists have begun to recognize that no modern identity is stable and transmissible. Ethnicity is itself a modern construct, not an eternal given.

Oslo University Press, It has been argued more recently by the contributors to Werner Sollors, ed. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism London: A Critical Reader, See the illuminating collection of essays in Judith Butler and Joan W. Here the Jewish experience has much to contribute and also much to learn.

Temple University Press, Rather, the word Jew has multiple and contradictory meanings: Orthodox, Reform, secular, Ashkenazi, Sephardi as well as male and female. In a variety of ways, then, to be a Jew, especially at this historical juncture, means to lack a single essence, to live with multiple identities. Perhaps the Jews are even emblematic of the postmodern condition as a whole.

If identity politics means to base one's political activity on one particular identity, then the Jews' experience of multiple identities suggests that identity politics conceived as monolithic or total needs serious rethinking. Many of the contributors to this volume argue instead for a politics that acknowledges the multifaceted nature of identity without abandoning the importance of identity altogether.

Multiculturalists have also begun to explore and embrace the implications of composite identities such as the mestizo or creole. Some argue that these hybrid and "impure" identities are representative rather than monstrous and that because of the increase in global migrations these hybrid identities will continue to characterize marginalized and majoritarian communities alike in the future.

The New Mestiza San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, In a similar way, the category of diaspora, which has become increasingly important in postcolonial theory, has critical resonance for Jews, whose history and religion have required a constant dialectic between "homeland" and "exile.

Indiana University Press, Modernity and Double Consciousness Cambridge: Harvard University Press, , for a very interesting discussion of these issues of home and homeland for African Americans as well as some illuminating comparisons between African Americans and Jews. Yet another question where we believe the Jewish experience may shed new light on multicultural theory is the debate about the canon.

Multiculturalists have typically sought to open the Western canon to suppressed or forgotten literatures, while opponents of multiculturalism have lamented the loss of critical standards of culture and of a shared heritage. Yet the very concept of a canon as used by both sides of this debate may be rigid and narrow, based perhaps too heavily on the Christian notion of dogma.

For Jews, the canon means not only a sacred scripture but also a tradition of commentary that almost infinitely expands that scripture, often in radical and unexpected directions. The Talmud, based in some very loose sense on the Bible, is at once canonical and also the site for a remarkable polyphony of contradictory opinions. This type of sacred literature suggests that a canon need not reflect a monolithic set of doctrines but might instead involve an ever expanding and transforming culture composed of creative contradictions. Indeed, this Jewish concept of a canon is increasingly being accepted for the study of Western literature and it is one that is much more open to interaction with non-Western culture.

Yale University Press, Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Literature Albany: In addition, the Jews' own relationship to the Western canon betrays the same insider-outsider relationship that increasingly characterizes that of other marginalized groups living in the West.

The Bible is the quintessential Jewish book, yet the way Jews read the Bible is not necessarily that of Christian culture. But if the Bible is one of the classic canonical texts of the West, the Talmud and other rabbinic literature remain very much on the margins. Here is a literature that at once resisted Hellenistic-Christian culture yet also absorbed and interacted with it in a variety of creative ways.

University of California Press, , chapter 2. These are only a few of the issues this volume attempts to address. We have arranged the essays in one of many possible coherent sequences, and we invite readers to take their own paths through it. In the first section, "American Symphony or Melting Pot? How did these various definitions contribute to or detract from Jews' relationships with the majority and with other subcultures, particularly African Americans? How might the Jewish experience suggest new definitions of multicultural theory and politics?

The relationship of the Jewish experience to the definition of the cultural canon is the subject of the second section, "Canons and Counterhistories. How might the way in which Jews have interpreted the Bible constitute an alternative to the traditional idea of canon as a set of monolithic texts? Alternatively, how might Jewish studies reconceptualize itself, using other multicultural models, as a form of "counterhistory".

And, finally, how does Judaism function in the very different counterhistories of Afrocentrism and feminism? The final section, "Diaspora Negotiations," addresses the complex ways in which Jews have defined, adapted to, and resisted exile. What is the relationship of the Jewish experience to postcolonial diaspora theory? How has the particular form of Jewish multilingualism in America served to construct a kind of homeland? How does modern Hebrew literature challenge the privileging of exile in modernism and postmodernism?

And, finally, what is the meaning and what are the implications of the peculiarly "Jewish" form of vicarious politics which seems as prevalent in multiculturalism today as it was in earlier political movements in the Jewish diaspora? This selection of articles follows no single ideological line or definition of multiculturalism. Each of the authors has been encouraged to advance his or her own point of view rather than one that we have imposed at the outset. Yet we would be disingenuous to pretend that we have no underlying agenda in undertaking this book.

For too long, we believe, relations between Jews and other groups in the emerging multiculture have been marked by discomfort, suspicion, and even overt hostility. It is our hope that this effort to bring multicultural theory into conversation with Jewish experience and Jewish studies will promote real conversation outside of these pages. We are also fully cognizant of the way history has been used to advance the claims of some groups against those of others.

We acknowledge that different kinds of oppression have damaged communities in different and to some degree incommensurable ways. By acknowledging these disparities of experience at the outset, we hope to transcend the trend toward comparative victimology which has distracted Jews and other groups from more important questions.

Perhaps the most urgent of these questions is whether American subcultures can construct a collective American history that gives due recognition to the oppressions of the past without permitting those oppressions to dictate the narratives of the future.

Stephen Scott (disambiguation)

We believe that the future lies in a shared commitment to writing a new narrative rather than in the competition between histories of persecution. Our aim in this volume is not to overcome difference or erase past inequities in favor of some homogenized culture. In the final analysis, we seek ways to negotiate between marginalized groups and the majority culture, between "minor" and "master" narratives, so that the Enlightenment ideal of the universal and the multicultural vision of difference can be.

We seek alliances with other subcultures so that each can define its own uniqueness. At the same time, we seek a common civic discourse, a truly democratic process in which all ethnic, racial, and religious subcultures are represented. For Jews, as well as all of American society, this should be the challenge of multiculturalism: As the recent controversy over national standards for the teaching of American history attests, the multicultural debate frequently revolves around the struggle between two narratives: America as the site for the realization of freedom and America as the site for oppression, persecution, and even genocide.

These stories divide substantially along racial lines in which "white" ethnicities tend to emphasize the narrative of freedom while "colored" ethnicities focus on narratives of oppression. In this essay I wish to take up the curious position that Jews occupy along this narrative divide, a position that has caused them much angst as they confront multiculturalism. Jews came to America, in large measure from eastern Europe, with a kind of double consciousness. On the one hand, millennia of exile had accustomed them to view themselves as a perennial minority, always vulnerable to the whims of an often hostile majority.

Jewish life was by definition "abnormal" compared to that of the Jews' hosts, a perception reinforced by Jewish theologies of chosenness and Christian theologies of supersession. During the century or so before , when mass immigration to America began, movements for Jewish emancipation and integration had proceeded by fits and starts in the various European countries.

The process was already well under way in western and central Europe but had only begun in eastern Europe. Yet even in those countries in which emanicipation was well established, in France, for example, Jews often remained a self-conscious minority, indeed, the quintessential minority against whom the status of minority rights was usually defined. Jews came to America with this consciousness of difference firmly. On the other hand, if Jews came to America with a minority mentality, they also viewed America in quasi-messianic terms as a land where they might escape their historic destiny and become part of the majority.

The goldene medina was not only a state whose streets were paved with gold in the obvious economic sense but it was also a state that seemed to promise political "gold": Although the mass Jewish immigration to America is often contrasted with the much more ideological Zionist settlement in Palestine in the same decades, both were driven by equally strong material and idealistic motives.

In their own imaginations, the Jews came to America not as they had wandered from country to country through the centuries of exile but as if they were coming home. In this regard, then, Jews were not that different from other immigrants, from Europe or elsewhere in the world, all of whom saw in America both an economic and political haven. What made the Jews different was the persistence of the first mentality, that of a minority. Most other immigrant groups were themselves from majority populations, although some, like the Irish and the Poles, were also subjugated by other nations. Yet even these latter groups had more recent historical memories of majority status, while, for the Jews, living as a minority had been an endemic condition for thousands of years.

Thus, while Jews almost universally constructed a narrative of liberation to describe their immigration to America, they did so while retaining a strong memory and consciousness of themselves as a minority. This double consciousness played an important role earlier in this century in prompting various Jewish thinkers to develop new theories of America that might accommodate the Jews. These thinkers continued to view the Jews as the archetypal minority and they attempted to envision an America in which the Jews might be both integrated and still retain their distinctiveness.

Thus, much of the discourse about America as a "melting pot" or as a pluralistic nation of cultural minorities was originated by Jews to address the particular situation of Jewish immigrants. Jews therefore not only adapted to America but also played central roles in shaping the definitions of their adopted country. Yet the way contemporary multiculturalists have absorbed this discourse and changed its terms has created profound anxiety among Jews, because of their double consciousness.

The question for Jews today is whether they still have something to contribute to the definition of identity in America, as they did earlier in the century. A number of key texts in the early Jewish attempt to define America and the Jews' place in it are often taken as paradigmatic statements of fixed positions. Most are actually pregnant with ambiguity and tension, reflecting the very ambiguities of Jewish self-consciousness. Zangwill's revision, from , consists primarily of an epilogue.

Zipperstein drew my attention to Sollors's very important book. For a history of the use of the term "melting pot" before Zangwill, see Sollors, Beyond Ethnicity, Opening the script of The Melting Pot , one is immediately astonished that such a slender dramatic reed could support a century-long discourse. The play itself is a melodramatic potboiler, full of cardboard caricatures and woodenly sentimental dialogue. Yet Zangwill's timing was evidently exquisite, for the play opened at the height of the pre—World War I immigration wave, as American public opinion oscillated between shock at the Russian pogroms and deep skepticism about the possibility of Americanizing their victims.

The opening was attended by Theodore Roosevelt, who applauded the author's sentiments and later agreed to have a revised edition dedicated to him in The play enjoyed long runs in a number of cities throughout America and even spawned the formation of a "Melting Pot Club" in Boston. Zangwill had clearly touched a nerve.

The most basic tension in The Melting Pot lies in the contrast between the play's assimilationist message and its specifically Jewish content. As I hope will become evident, Zangwill's choice of Jews as his immigrant protagonists reflected more than the fact that Zangwill typically wrote primarily about Jews.

To put the matter differently, if it was Jewish immigration that was emblematic of the problem of Americanization, then Zangwill's "melting pot" conclusion was the inescapable product of a peculiarly Jewish discourse. As is often the case, Zangwill's cosmopolitanism turned out to be something like a form of Jewish particularism. The Melting Pot opens in a living room in a non-Jewish borough of New York the locale is specified in Zangwill's stage directions.

The decor improbably mixes an American flag over the door, pictures of Wagner, Columbus, Lincoln, and "Jews at the Wailing place. As Zangwill describes it, "The whole effect is a curious blend of shabbiness, Americanism, Jewishness, and music. David is a composer who has written a symphony entitled "The Crucible" celebrating the idea of America as a melting pot.

He and Vera fall in love, but their relationship comes to a stormy halt when David recognizes Vera's father, Baron Revendal, as the officer who had commanded the Russian troops during the Kishinev pogrom. In the end the baron admits his guilt, David's symphony is performed, and he and Vera are reconciled, although the kisses she bestows on him in the final scene are not so much romantic as religious: Zangwill's antipathy to the Jewish religion is manifest throughout the play.

Not only are the Hebrew books moldy but each generation of the Quixano family is portrayed as moving successively away from Orthodox practice toward Western culture, represented by music. Even the old Frau Quixano the mother of David's uncle Mendel , who is the most religious, comes to accept David's violation of the Sabbath in favor of his music. The figure of David is quite peculiar. He fits the stereotype of the hypersensitive, even feminized male Jew who is easily thrown into hysterical weeping when reminded of Jewish persecutions.

Yet the name Quixano turns out to be of Sephardic origin. The Quixanos, we learn, were expelled from Spain in and went to Poland historically possible, if improbable. By giving his eastern European hero a Sephardic pedigree, Zangwill implicitly endorsed the well-established trope in nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish letters in which the Sephardim constitute an assimilable Jewish aristocracy as opposed to the uncouth Ashkenazic Ostjuden eastern European Jews.

Romance and Reform in Victorian England Detroit, Europe is the land of persecution and oppression—symbolized by the Kishinev pogrom David has survived—and is rife with ancient hatreds between peoples. America represents redemption through the effacing of all hostile differences:. America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming! Here you stand, good folk, think I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you stand in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories and your fifty blood hatred and rivalries.

But you won't be long like that, brothers, for these are the fires of God you've come to … A fig for your feuds and vendettas! God is making the American. The difference between America and all the other lands that had taken in Jews after the expulsion from Spain Holland and Turkey, for example was that "these countries were not in the making. They were old civilisations stamped with the seal of creed. In such countries the Jew may be right to stand out. But here in this new secular Republic we must look forward. Zangwill's assimilationist vision is based on a recycled version of Gottfried Ephraim Lessing's German Enlightenment drama Nathan the Wise in which all religions serve the same God and therefore all Americans are, as Vera puts, "already at one.

In Nathan , the wise Jew's daughter turns out to have really been born a Christian and in the final scene of reunification at the end of the play Nathan is left out of the happy family circle. Everyone is transmuted into an Enlightened Christian except Nathan, who is consequently marginalized. The ideal of Zangwill's drama is also assimilationist, but, as opposed to Lessing's play, the end product is to turn all true Americans into Jews.

Ethnic Tensions on Stage," American Quarterly 27 Zangwill even casts aspersions on the marital fidelity of native-born Americans, represented by the philandering Davenport, as opposed to the Jews. In the first version of the play, he has Vera say: Despite Zangwill's prophecy of the disappearance of all prior ethnicities into the crucible, it turns out that "race" is not so easily effaced. In a passionate exchange between Vera and Baroness Revendal Vera's stepmother , the baroness insists that the Russian pianist Rubinstein was not a Jew since he was baptized shortly after birth.

Vera hotly responds by asking: Zangwill gives some partial and ambiguous answers to such questions in an afterword appended to the edition of the play. The strange ambiguities of this essay in fact reinforce our reading of the contradictions in the play. One especially peculiar aspect of the afterword is its obsession with the racial theory current at the time. In one place Zangwill argues that Jewish traits are racially "recessive" so that Jews should ultimately disappear as recognizable types in America.

This hypothesis of an assimilable Jewish genotype looks suspiciously like a reversal of the anti-Semitic argument that Jewish genes will predominate if Jews are allowed into Western society. Yet Zangwill also claims that the Jew is "the toughest of all the white elements that have been poured into the American crucible, the race having, by its unique experience of several thousand years of exposure to alien majorities, developed a salamandrine power of survival.

And this asbestoid fibre is made even more fireproof by the anti-Semitism of American uncivilisation. This "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" approach characterizes much of the afterword, as indeed it did many of Zangwill's other writings on the Jews: He preached in favor of intermarriage, much. But he also argued that in light of religious differences intermarriages are generally unwise because they lead to dissension in the home.

In any case, he backs off from the miscegenist message of the play by concluding that the "Jew may be Americanised and the American Judaised without any gamic interaction. Zangwill's treatment of the problem of blacks in America contains similar ambiguities, some of which result in extraordinarily racist conclusions.

Against one critic, he protests that he has not ignored the problem of American blacks since he has Baron Revendal defend the persecution of Russian Jews by comparing it to the lynching of African Americans. In this account Jews are the blacks of Russia, a trope later to play a major role in the mythology of the black-Jewish alliance.

The Insider Becomes An Outsider

In a gesture toward racial inclusiveness, David's crucible expressly includes "black and yellow. Yet Zangwill was skeptical about whether blacks could truly be assimilated. Black traits, he claims, are "dominant" and cannot be easily eliminated from the American genotype. Invoking the language of "scientific" racism of his day, he argued that "the prognathous face is an ugly and undesirable type of countenance [and] it connotes a lower average of intellect and ethics. Stripped of its racist language, Zangwill's afterword is to some degree prophetic in terms of the different fates of Jewish and African Americans in the twentieth century.

Jews can pass as whites, blacks cannot. Only certain races that share family resemblances are candidates for "melting. Moreover, Zangwill's unabashed use of racist language revealed all too clearly why the melting pot had its severe limitations. Zangwill concedes that even for the Jews the melting pot will work in a much more circuitous and gradual fashion than the play itself suggests.

And the process by which assimilation works involves not the disappearance of ethnic traits but rather their recombination into the emerging American genotype. The Jews, in Zangwill's model, will not so much. Zangwill's play spawned immediate responses from Jews and others. Within a year of the play's first production, the eloquent New York rabbi Judah L.

Magnes preached that "America is not the melting pot. It is not the Moloch demanding the sacrifice of national individuality. The symphony of America must be written by the various nationalities which keep their individual and characteristic note, and which sound this note in harmony with their sister nationalities. As Mitchell Cohen argues elsewhere in this volume, a more sustained response came from the Jewish social thinker Horace Kallen, who published a series of articles in in The Nation entitled "Democracy versus the Melting Pot.

Kallen's primary example of an ethnic group with a strong cultural heritage was the Jews. Both the persistence of anti-Semitism and the dynamic character of Jewish culture in America seemed to suggest that Jews would remain an identifiable group: Cultural pluralism, in Kallen's account, was based on the involuntary influence of ethnicity. As he wrote in a much quoted passage: The intrinsic difficulty with Kallen's position, at least in the essays, is that it attributes autonomous power to ethnic or racial origin, as one of his critics, Isaac Berkson, soon pointed out.

Berkson, Theories of Americanization: The concept of malleable ethnic identity is implicit in a famous speech by John Dewey in , which, as Cohen suggests in his essay "In Defense of Shaatnez," was generally taken to support Kallen's cultural pluralism:. Such terms as Irish-American or Hebrew-American or German-American are false terms because they seem to assume something which is already in existence called America, to which the other factor may be externally hitched on.

The fact is, the genuine American, the typical American, is himself a hyphenated. This does not mean that he is part American and that some foreign ingredient is then added. It means that … he is international and interracial in his make-up. He is not American plus Pole or German. Quoted in Gordon, Assimilation in American Life, Dewey's notion of American identity was actually closer to what Zangwill meant by the melting pot than to Kallen's original definition of cultural pluralism: It is also striking that Dewey's vision of the hyphenated American, like Kallen's, is based on European immigrants and excludes what are today called "peoples of color.

Beyond the differences between Zangwill's melting pot and Kallen's cultural pluralism lies a certain instructive commonality: The narrative of Jewish immigration and absorption was believed to hold the key to how the American polity would define itself. If these two complementary, opposing theories anticipated both the terms and the problems of today's multi-culturalism debate, they did so as a Jewish discourse. Yet Jews now feel themselves almost totally marginal to the contemporary debate.

How, we might ask, have they lost the central position they once held in the struggle over America's identity? The answer to this question lies in the fundamental shift in the post—World War II era from ethnicity to race as the paradigmatic problem of America. Race has, of course, never been absent as a defining question for American society, but it was partially submerged during the half-century of mass immigration from Europe starting in the late nineteenth century.

Even then, racial stereotypes were commonly used against those who are today considered European whites: Italians, Irish, Poles, and of course Jews. But the racial question in relation to African Americans regained its centrality in the postwar years when immigration was no longer a major issue and as African Americans began to organize what became the civil rights movement.

As the vexed relationship of America to its former slaves has come to define race, ethnic groups are now homogenized as either "peoples of color" or "white" whether they so identify. This racial polarization has become even more true as a result of the significant increase in both legal and illegal immigration over the last few decades. Although not all of the more recent immigrants are in fact "peoples of color" consider, for instance, the Russian Jews , much of the anti-immigrant fever is fueled, as it was earlier in the century, by the racializing of immigrants as "nonwhite.

The theories we have examined from earlier in the century were part of an effort to forge a new American identity open to immigrant ethnicities who were largely European, even though some theorists were cognizant of the existence of Asian immigrants, primarily in the West. While the issue of black Americans was not a secret to any of them, the Jewish writers were preoccupied with European ethnicities. Zangwill's tentative attempts to equate the Jewish with the African American condition came apart in the racist remarks of his afterword.

The melting pot had no room for blacks, whose "dominant" genes could not be easily melted. Kallen too was relatively silent on the racial problem of African Americans, a somewhat surprising silence given his initial emphasis on biological descent. In terms of European immigrant groups, Jews were arguably the most difficult case because they were both ethnically and religiously alien.

A theory built around the Jews could be paradigmatic for other immigrant groups since the absorption of Jews appeared at the time to many to be the most problematic. In this respect the early twentieth-century debates about the integration of Jews into America continued a European tradition in which the Jews served as the archetypal minority: The rise of European racism frequently focused specifically on Jews: When Jews came to America, they assumed both that America was different and that their "privileged" status as the emblematic minority would continue.

The erection of educational quotas and the rise of a virulent American strain of anti-Semitism in the s and s confirmed the sense of continuities with Europe. The fact that such groups as the Ku Klux Klan targeted Jews together with African Americans reinforced the feeling of a commonality of persecution. But as anti-Semitism and formal discrimination waned in the post-World War II years and as Jews became economically successful, they found themselves for the first time in modern history as doubly marginal: They were no longer a minority that defined the central political discourse of the majority culture.

Instead, with the rise of the civil rights movement, a very different narrative focusing on African Americans became dominant. As Cheryl Greenberg shows elsewhere in this book, although it seemed for a period as if Jews might be able to wed their narrative to that of blacks in the rhetoric of the early civil rights movement, it quickly became apparent that the experiences of these two groups were fundamentally different: In fact, despite the persecutions and disabilities suffered in Europe, the Jews had still enjoyed a degree of internal autonomy utterly different from that of the African American slaves.

Their culture in Europe may well have prepared them better than most immigrant groups for success in America. Thus, not only economic success and social integration but also an intrinsically different history divided the Jews from American blacks. Whether they liked it or not and usually they did , the Jews in postwar America had become white. Despite this new reality, the Jewish strategy has often been to continue insisting on minority status.

But this strategy is full of ironic contradictions. Consider the success of the American Jewish community in placing the Holocaust on the American political landscape by building a Holocaust museum on the Mall in Washington. It was as if by transferring the European genocide to America American Jews might continue their European identity as the chosen minority. Yet the very political influence and economic wherewithal necessary to construct the Holocaust Museum immediately belied this message: Only the genocide of Europeans by Europeans could find canonical status, while the home-grown mass sufferings of African and Native Americans could not.

Almost by definition, the real emblematic minorities are precisely those whose story no one wants to hear. The Holocaust Museum is an example of how Jews seek to be marked at once as part of the majority culture, by linking their history to the institutions of America, and as different, by insisting on the particularity of their history as a persecuted minority. The desire to connect the negative European Jewish narrative with the positive image of America, as a kind of brief for Jewish integration, has of course a long history in which Zang-will's Melting Pot was one early version: The American melting pot gains its rationale from the brutal history of the Jews in Europe by serving as the site where all the Old World conflicts are resolved.

Yet one might argue that the instant success of Zangwill's play, like that of the Holocaust Museum nearly a century later, proves that the Jews may not have been then and certainly are not now the minority whose history was the real stumbling block to a truly egalitarian America. Echoes of the debate about American identity, in which the Jews played a major role earlier in this century, can be heard in multicultural theory today. There are, however, fundamental differences in both tone and content between the competing theories of the "melting pot" and "cultural pluralism" on the one hand and today's "monoculturalism" and "multiculturalism" on the other.

Zangwill was certainly no advocate of Anglo conformism and neither was Kallen a direct precursor of contemporary radical politics of identity. Yet without reclaiming for the Jews a status they no longer have in America, I wish to argue that by recovering something of value from these earlier Jewish theorists, it may be possible to construct an alternative to the increasingly bleak dichotomies that social theory seems to offer today. I believe that it is possible to imagine a Jewish identity that, if not paradigmatic, can at least help to bridge what seems now an unbridgeable chasm between racialized majorities and minorities.

In one place in his epilogue Zangwill makes an interesting argument about the identity of the Britons. Rather than constituting a monolithic ethnicity, he claims that their identity was formed out of a long historical crucible in which virtually every racial type made its way to the British Isles. If the British turn out to be a hybrid people, then perhaps no national identity is actually monolithic or stable.

All nations are formed of melting pots. Thus, despite the racial language of the afterword and the ambiguities of the text itself, Zangwill pointed vaguely in the direction of what might be called a postethnic definition of identity. Only recently emerging as a theoretical construct, [21] See, for example, Mary C. Postethnic theory argues that race is not a natural category but rather one that is socially constructed and imposed on groups. Instead of basing identity on these constructs, a new construct would posit that identity can be individually chosen.

Identity in such a theory is fluid and often multiple. David Hollinger, for example, poses what he calls "Alex Haley's dilemma. Beyond Multiculturalism New York, In so doing, the postethnic theorists are responding to a social reality that is increasingly evident in America: Intermarriage—an inevitability in any open society—has created individuals whose very being subverts any politics of monolithic identity.

After nearly a century of counterarguments, Zangwill's melting pot continues to simmer. Moreover, as Zangwill himself held, the result of this melting process is not conformity to a preexistent American identity but the creation of something new to which each of the constituent parts makes its contribution. Yet postethnic theory suggests something different as well: That is, in place of a new, monolithic identity to take the place of the ethnic or racial identities that make it up, one could imagine multiple identities held simultaneously and chosen as much as inherited.

To put it in Horace Kallen's terms, we may not be able to choose our grandparents, but we can choose the extent to which we affirm our connection to this or that grandparent. Freed of its early essentialism, Kallen's cultural pluralism can be resurrected by communities of choice. Postethnic theory is obviously utopian to a great degree since America continues to be divided along racial grounds: In addition, the intermarriage argument, relevant for groups like Asian and Hispanic Americans, is far less relevant for African Americans, who are intermarrying with other groups at a far lesser rate although still at a higher rate than a few decades ago.

Despite all these caveats, however, the virtue of postethnic theory is to attempt to change consciousness about categories assumed to be fixed, static, and, above all, "natural. How do the Jews fit into this perhaps utopian vision of a postethnic, postracial America? Because they are now seen as white and therefore capable of passing like other whites, I suggest that Jews at the end of the twentieth century are rapidly becoming a good example of just such a community of choice.

American Jews constitute a kind of intermediary ethnic group, one of the most quickly and thoroughly acculturated yet, among European immigrant ethnicities, equally one of the most resistant to complete assimilation. Anti-Semites may have conceived of the Jews as a race, but American Jews, with their historical origins in Europe and the Middle East and with an intermarriage rate now at least 30 percent, defy racializing stereotypes even more now than ever.

Jews are an ethnic group, but not an ethnic group traditionally conceived. Neither are they characterized by uniform religious practice or belief. The instability and multiplicity of Jewish identity, which has a long history going back to the Bible itself, [23] See my "The Politics of Jewish Identity in Historical Perspective," in Wolfgang Natter, ed. The indeterminacy of contemporary Jewish identity is often the cause of much communal hand-wringing. But instead of bemoaning these multiple identities, Jews need to begin to analyze what it means to negotiate them and, by so doing, perhaps even learn to embrace them.

Reconceiving of Jewish identity along postethnic lines would undoubtedly require a sea change in Jewish self-consciousness, since Jews often continue to define themselves according to the old fixed categories. In particular, the issue of intermarriage, which got Zangwill in so much trouble in The Melting Pot , requires radical reevaluation.

Far from siphoning off the Jewish gene pool, perhaps intermarriage needs to be seen instead as creating new forms of identity, including multiple identities, that will reshape what it. For the first time in Jewish history, there are children of mixed marriages who violate the "law of excluded middle" by asserting that they are simultaneously Jewish and Christian or Jewish and Italian. Whether these new forms of identity spell the end of the Jewish people or its continuation in some new guise cannot be easily predicted since there is no true historical precedent for this development: Such moments of revolutionary transformation are always fraught with peril, but whatever one's view of it, the task for those concerned with the place of Jews in America is not to condemn or condone but rather to respond creatively to what is now an inevitable social process.

Beyond intermarriage, all Jews in the modern period have learned to live with multiple identities: At one time it was fashionable to describe these identities as hyphenated or hybrid, as our discussion of Zangwill and Kallen makes clear. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that multiplicity in the precise sense of the word is more apt a description than hybridity.

As opposed to the melting pot in which a new identity emerges or the cultural pluralism model in which only one ethnic identity remains primary, this is the sort of identity in which one might retain at least two different cultural legacies at once.


The Jewish Enlightenment slogan "Be a human being on the street and a Jew at home" now comes to fruition in a new guise: In order to begin this rethinking, Jews will undoubtedly have to give up their sense of themselves as the paradigmatic minority, a sociological version of the older theology of the chosen people. In a postethnic America Jews will no longer be such a minority because the very categories of majority and minority will come into question. Yet perhaps in this respect the Jewish experience does remain relevant, precisely as a subversion of the old polarities.

In a sense both Zangwill and Kallen were right about the Jews, for they have simultaneously fulfilled both the vision of the melting pot and that of cultural pluralism. At once part of the American majority yet also a self-chosen minority, their very belonging to both of these categories undermines the categories themselves.

Between the monoculturalists who wish to erase difference and the multiculturalists who see only difference, the Jews may still have a role to play in the definition of the American future. Here's an argument that is six decades old, yet it remains poignant—as poignant, perhaps, as modernity. I am also indebted to Brian Morton, Michael Walzer, and Steven Zipperstein for their valuable criticisms of early drafts of this essay.

New generations have now arisen who did not know your soul-searching and did not have any part in your quest for truth. The delicate filibrations of logic that helped you weave two threads into one fabric have been forgotten like Stradivarius's secret. There is in general a new trend in the youth today, Jewish and Gentile: They incline rather to a direct, simple, primal, brutal "yes" or "no.

With what will you fight this brutality, with what balm? Will you try to teach them your art? I doubt whether this generation is capable of understanding it or wishes to understand it. This generation is exceedingly "monistic. At first Jabotinsky seems to be merely making a practical claim: There is, however, a principled prise de position toward the world in Jabotinsky's words.

A national struggle had to be unidirectional and unidevotional, drawn forth, one might say, as a single taut thread. For almost a decade Ben-Gurion had been responding to such contentions with a simple claim: Jabotinsky's Zionism also exemplified shaatnez for it too incorporated "foreign" ideas. Why was capitalism less "foreign" than socialism? Why, Ben-Gurion asked, did right-wingers complain about shaatnez when the Labor movement asserted its ideals but declared circumstances to be "neutral" when Labor's foes dominated?

What mattered was not the fact of shaatnez but what came together in the mixture and what resulted from it: Where Jabotinsky's "monism" placed Jews solely within the circle of particularism, Ben-Gurion situated his movement in the overlap of several intersecting circles. Am Oved and Keren ha-Negev, , Exchanging metaphors—circles for threads—one might say that the validity of multi-shaatnez is affirmed here.

Since these changes are not vital to my argument here, I have not pursued the subject. Columbia University Press, , especially Part 3.

In my discussion of Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky in this essay, I draw from chapters of this book. One might also say that Ben-Gurion was responding, albeit implicitly since he was a politician and not a philosopher, to basic questions posed by modernity to the Jews: Can a people dwell alone? Should it try to live solely by its "own" ideals, regarding them, moreover, as if they were a singular whole? Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky clashed, of course, at a time. Yet the issues underlying their duel remain acute today, both for a Jewish state and for any diaspora that would participate in Western liberal societies and not seek refuge in ghettolike insularity.

Let me present it starkly: This is the great intellectual question of Jewish modernity and no less, if you will, of Jewish "postmodernity. An ethnocentric vision, as K. Anthony Appiah observes, always implies "an unimaginative attitude to one's own culture. Oxford University Press, , In late Greenberg published an essay entitled "Patriotism and Plural Loyalties. One source of his meditation surely was anxiety that the recent birth of a Jewish state might provoke accusations that diaspora Jews had "dual allegiances.

Greenberg was a man confident in his Jewish culture—he had no fear of its engagement with the world—and especially in his political commitments, which, democratic socialist and Zionist, were plural. A multiplicity of commitments was legitimate in his view simply because human beings have multiple dimensions. Take, he proposed, an Italianspeaking Swiss citizen. Surely this man is a bundle of conflicting fealties and therefore of prospective betrayals.

As the citizen of a state, he owes Switzerland fidelity, but he also will be a patriot of his canton. Though Swiss, he surely has deep cultural ties to Italians in Italy, and if he is Catholic, he has bonds to Catholics around the globe and accepts a certain "sovereignty" of the Vatican. Now for a "monist" this fellow embodies the worst of all worlds, precisely because he embodies many worlds.

How can he be truly Swiss if his Swissness is potentially diluted by or perhaps in conflict with his Italianness or his Catholicism? Greenberg's response was first to argue that the "right to be different" was essential to any democracy; he specified "not only the right to hold different opinions and beliefs than the majority, but to be different. Selected Essays New York: Jewish Frontier Association, , 1: This stance, of course, requires an imaginative attitude toward one's culture, or rather cultures.

We can see this illustrated by Appiah's description of his father, a man of "multiple attachment to his identities. One can easily imagine Greenberg nodding his assent. And while he might recall that Jewry suffered unspeakable savagery, especially in this century, in the lands of Western Christian civilization, he would have nonetheless found it absurd to engage Goethe, for instance, not by his poetic vision but as a dead Christian German. And Greenberg would have had no need, pace Jabotinsky, to rediscover Stradivarius's secret in order to assent.

He would need only to point out that a single string has limited range, however fine the violin's wood. Try as he might, the monist cannot play a sonata on a solo string; certainly he will be incapable of harmonies or of recognizing disharmonies, whatever and wherever he plays. Monism always reduces to a "one"; pluralism is its nemesis. Nonetheless, monism is, as Ben-Gurion saw, more of a posture than anything else: A democrat's concern is these combinations and tensions.

What allows citizens and groups of citizens, indeed a society as a whole, to benefit. Might it be impossible to benefit from or to live with them? Since America's cultural and ethnic features are being contested nowadays, these are urgent matters of political argument. The central issue is broadly called "multiculturalism," yet only this term is new. How could the subject not have been raised in a country so marked by waves of immigration? Indeed, many of today's debates—and aspects of the atmosphere surrounding them—were rehearsed with acuity shortly before the entry of the United States into World War I.

It was a time of immigration, economic problems, and the possibility of war. Eugenics was revived as a "scientific" framework for discussing the newcomers to the country and the problems they brought and, of course, as a "realistic" way to discuss blacks. Statistics were deployed to demonstrate how the "immigration problem" had produced vice and crime. In New York's police chief, Theodore A. Bingham, had charged that "perhaps half of the criminals" in the city were Jews.

Columbia University Press, , Hours earlier, Clinton had dashed on stage to claim her somewhat tenuous victory before the networks even called it. But as Sanders and his aides winged their way to New Hampshire past midnight, they knew the narrative had shifted in their favor. With that razor-thin margin, the world would view the result as a tie.

That meant the Vermont Senator had cleared a huge hurdle: And that meant everything for the campaign's momentum in New Hampshire. The money was pouring in online. I would hope most people no longer believe that," Sanders told reporters as he stood in the aisle, illuminated by the ultra violet glow of the interior lights on his Eastern Airlines But the electricity surrounding him that morning was a harbinger of what would unfold in the week to come. For Team Clinton, the imperative of closing a polling gap of more than twenty points a week before the New Hampshire primary seemed almost surreal.

This, after all, was a state that had been kind to her and her husband. It was here that Bill Clinton positioned himself as the "comeback kid" in Her tearful moment at a Portsmouth coffee shop sharing her struggles with a group of women in allowed her to rebound after her humiliating third-place finish in Iowa. Long before Sanders emerged as a threat this cycle, she had insisted she was taking nothing for granted, airing ads in New Hampshire as early as August.

Clinton and her aides labored throughout last year to build the narrative that this was her historic moment. At her first post-Iowa rally this past week with New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, she was greeted here in the Granite State as the first woman to ever win the Iowa caucuses.

Female senators flew up from Washington to canvass for her in hopes of breaking what she had called that highest, hardest glass ceiling. But the overt appeal to the historic nature of her candidacy didn't seem to be resonating in For weeks, tensions had been swirling within her camp about how to knock out the charismatic Vermont Senator, who had captured the same kind of cool that Barack Obama did in Some Clinton aides felt she'd been playing it too safe.

Now behind by double digits, the stage seemed set for a long and protracted delegate fight. Though New Hampshire seemed like a lost cause, she punched hard in Thursday night's debate, skewering Sanders' lofty proposals as fantasy that could never be achieved. She bristled at Sanders' efforts to cast her as a creature of Wall Street: Um, that's what they offered," she replied, seemingly caught off guard by the question. At the time she accepted those fees, she told Cooper, she wasn't sure she was going to run again for the White House.

Preparing for defeat, Clinton and her aides spent the week trying to lower expectations, with the candidate herself wondering aloud whether she should have skipped the Granite State primary altogether and moved on to firmer ground in Nevada and South Carolina, states with far more diverse populations where Sanders is not expected to run as strong. Sanders had a home-court advantage in New Hampshire, she and her surrogates insisted over and over again, and there wasn't much she could do about it. But ever the fighter, she vowed to press on: I'm going to fight until the last vote is cast.

Behind the scenes, Clinton's aides were already looking at the map ahead: In a sign of resignation about Tuesday's likely result, they even sent Clinton out of state Sunday to Flint, Michigan, to talk about the water crisis -- an issue of great importance to many minority voters who have watched the scandal unfold in horror.

The most ominous development for Clinton: While many Clinton allies are deeply puzzled by gap, Clinton has tried to strike a positive note, stating at her campaign events, including Tuesday night, that even if young women were not with her, she will still fight for them. Pressing her case, she also stressed that the struggle for women's equality is far from over.

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But she may have been harmed in the final days when others took that message too far. Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, touched off a firestorm as she mocked Sanders' call for a "revolution" at Clinton's rally in Concord Saturday. Introducing Clinton at that event -- which somewhat ominously was filled with out-of-state canvassers and some political tourists -- Albright said the real revolution in the race would be electing the first woman president.

There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other. The crowd cheered and Clinton laughed, but the comments risked further alienating young women supporters of Sanders. The controversy over Albright's comments was amplified by discussion of Gloria Steinem's observation earlier in the week in an interview with "Real Time" host Bill Maher that young women were supporting Sanders to meet "boys. Steinem sought to smooth over her comments in a Sunday Facebook post, but the sting of her words and Albright's remained. Some young women voters in New Hampshire said they were dismayed by what they viewed as shaming by the Clinton campaign and its allies.

Gabrielle Greaves, a University of New Hampshire student, who had attended the CNN town hall with both Sanders and Clinton earlier in the week, said the Albright and Steinem flap only reinforced the "disconnect between the generations. Just because I don't think she should be president doesn't mean I'm not thankful for the things she has done.

Greaves added that "there's just something I don't trust about Hillary Clinton. The question of trust continued to dog Clinton throughout her events all week in New Hampshire. Interviews with voters after her rallies suggested she was having trouble closing the sale as some Democrats worried about her liabilities ahead. Jane Fargo came to Clinton's Concord rally over the weekend holding a sign that said "Convince Me" in red letters. She left unconvinced by the former Secretary of State. Who is going to look out best for my interests? My investments are going down; I'm looking at retirement in 12 years and it's really scary," said Fargo, a year-old middle-school teacher from Bow.

Somebody's got to go shake up something and that sells me toward Bernie. Standing next to the bleachers in the gymnasium where Clinton had just spoken, Fargo said she liked her ideas but worried about "how entrenched she is. Or is she really going to go in and shake things up like Bernie is promising to do? I want change," Fargo said. At the same time, "when they say Clinton will be ready on day one, I've got a feeling she'll be ready on day one," she said. In the final days, Sanders' rallies crackled with the kind of electricity that accompanies a candidate on the rise.

Taking the stage in Portsmouth Sunday afternoon, he peeled off his jacket and tossed it to the beanie-clad college kids on the stage behind him -- who cheered as though they were in the presence of a rock star. The cheers built to a crescendo as he ticked through the items in his stump speech -- railing against the "rigged economy," promising universal health care, vowing to take on the big banks and a broken criminal justice system. He engaged in call-answer exchange with the crowd as he encouraged them to shout out how much student debt they were carrying as he talked about his plans for free college.

You win," he said, pointing to one woman in the crowd. To laughter, he mocked the refrain he has heard from Clinton's allies: Sanders paused for a beat. Clinton's closing days of her New Hampshire campaign carried eerie echoes of her campaign. Bill Clinton, who had been a subdued and measured advocate for his wife leading up to the Iowa caucuses, lashed out at Sanders supporters in the final weekend -- condemning sexist attacks and calling out the media for being too soft in their coverage of Sanders.

His critique of Sanders' agenda as unachievable recalled , when he dubbed Barack Obama's campaign a "fairy tale. By Monday, the die seemed cast. The conversation around the Democratic campaign focused not on a comeback, but on a campaign shakeup. On the trail, she struck a poignant tone in the final hours: She conceded defeat in a statement at 8 pm shortly after the polls closed in New Hampshire Tuesday night.

But she was looking ahead to South Carolina and the states beyond, telling her donors in an email that she wouldn't be discouraged by the results. It's about whether you get back up. Christie's merciless takedown of Rubio, who had seemed on the cusp of muscling the other establishment candidates out of the race for a three-way contest with Trump and Cruz.

Given Tuesday night's results with Kasich's strong second-place finish, Christie's maneuver to damage Rubio ultimately looked like a kamikaze mission for the governor, who staked his entire campaign on New Hampshire but ended up in sixth place. Marco Rubio is 'not ready'. Marco Rubio is 'not ready' A week earlier after Rubio's surprisingly strong third-place finish in Iowa, it had looked as though the establishment had finally found their candidate to rally around.

But with the skill of a New Jersey street fighter, Christie managed to single-handedly halt what Rubio's aides had dubbed "Marco-mentum" Saturday night by taking his rival's greatest strengths -- his youth, his charisma, his uplifting message -- and turning them into weaknesses.

Rattling Rubio with unflinching eye contact, Christie had walked the Florida senator into a trap: The people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again. During the past month, the Christie-Rubio rivalry had turned intensely personal. Rubio's allies had set their mark on Christie in early January just as he seemed to be rising in the polls on the strength of his many town halls here.

They put out a pair of scorching ads faulting the New Jersey Governor for his past position on Common Core, for his expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, and for New Jersey's economic woes. One ad was essentially a montage of photos of Christie and Obama after Superstorm Sandy, a sore spot with conservative voters. The other raised the specter of the George Washington Bridge scandal, the scheme to close lanes and create traffic tie ups that embroiled officials in his administration.

Scandals," the ad's tag line said. Christie and his allies were furious. In private conversations, Christie told aides he couldn't believe the response that Rubio was getting from voters and donors given his thin resume in Senate and what he viewed as a lackluster record of accomplishments, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

After Iowa, with their poll numbers still in single digits, Christie seized his moment to strike. Some members of Christie's team became even more riled up by the calls they received after Iowa, suggesting Christie should drop out so the party could coalesce around Rubio. As candidates began shifting their campaigns toward the Granite state on Feb. He tested his lines about the dangers posed by first-term senators on the stump. And then the real onslaught began when he unleashed his new attack line for Rubio -- calling him the "boy in the bubble" who relied on advisers for canned lines.

Relishing his performance after the debate, Christie quoted "the great political philosopher Mike Tyson," the heavyweight-boxing champion. Chris Christie and Donald Trump share a laugh during a commercial break in the Republican presidential debate February 6, , in Manchester, New Hampshire. The debate moment was played again and again -- even on Tuesday morning as voters were headed to the polls.