Gentile New York: Images of Non-Jews among Jewish Immigrants

By Soyer, Daniel | American Jewish History, April 2013 | Go to article overview

Gentile New York: Images of Non-Jews among Jewish Immigrants


Soyer, Daniel, American Jewish History


Gentile New York: Images of Non-Jews Among Jewish Immigrants. By Gil Ribak. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2012. xi + 293 pp.

In Gentile New York, Gil Ribak takes on an uncomfortable subject --uncomfortable because it turns out that Jews for the most part did not think highly of the gentiles around them. And when they did have a high opinion of certain groups of non-Jews, it was often for reasons that would strike many of us as ignoble. In examining the gentile image in the Jewish mind, Ribak seeks to debunk the myth that he sees as pervasive among American Jews that Judaism is somehow inevitably liberal. He further argues that the ways in which American Jews viewed local gentiles was informed by their experiences with different groups of non-Jews in Europe. In addition, images of specific groups changed over time. The way in which Jewish perceptions of Yankees, in particular, changed for the worse in the first decades of the twentieth century shows that there was no linear and easy path to integration into American society. Ribak thus sees his book as a brief against the American exceptionalism prevalent in American Jewish historiography and which he views as a form of presentism. Gentile New York is well-written, strongly argued, and based on extremely thorough research in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew. Although it will not convince everyone, it makes an important contribution by complicating the story of American Jewish ethnic and racial liberalism, demonstrating the importance of the European background to American Jewish culture, and foregrounding Jews' relations with the others they lived with.

Ribak uses a transnational lens. He begins his analysis in Eastern Europe, where Jews (influenced by negative portrayals of non-Jews in the Talmud and other sacred texts) saw the peasants around them as brutal, dimwitted, and drunken embodiments of violence and physicality. But there were other non-Jews, particularly Russian and German elites, whom Jews admired for their culture and refinement. These attitudes carried over to America, where Jews looked favorably upon upper-class "Yankees" seen as modern, progressive, well-mannered, and devoid of anti-Semitism. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gentile New York: Images of Non-Jews among Jewish Immigrants
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.