Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires

By Adler, Eliyana R. | Canadian Slavonic Papers, September-December 2006 | Go to article overview

Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires


Adler, Eliyana R., Canadian Slavonic Papers


Sarah Abrevaya Stein. Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2004. 328 pp. Photographs. Notes. Index.

The first scholars of the modern Jewish experience, themselves German Jews, created an historical narrative that placed Germany, and their own process of emancipation and acculturation, at its centre. The modernization of East European Jewry was seen as incomplete or non-normative. Later, the first generation of East European Jewish historians would define their own unique struggles and transformations as quintessential, thereby bypassing the stories of Western or Eastern Jewries. In this impressive book, Sarah Abrevaya Stein highlights the multivalent and complex qualities of the process of modernization by comparing the paths of Russian and Ottoman Jews.

Stein's entrée into the subject is close examination of the first daily newspapers in the Jewish vernaculars of Yiddish and Ladino. In her introduction Stein argues that the popular press has been utilized for concrete historical facts, but undervalued as "an agent of historical change" (p. 4). She therefore seeks to use Der fraynd (St. Petersburg, Warsaw, 1903-13) and El tiempo (Constantinople, 1872-1930) to study the process of transformation within these two major Jewish communities.

Stein articulates the tremendous potential for comparative work most completely in her epilogue:

The most exciting possibility afforded by the comparative study of Jewish history is of fathoming the coincidence of heterogeneity and consistency that has marked modern Jewish culture. This exercise allows us to unravel certain inherited dichotomies that have defined the field of Jewish history, and Russian, Ottoman, European, and Middle Eastern history along with it. By illuminating new linkages between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, and between Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, this process challenges the notion that there existed "Eastern," "Western," "European," or "Levantine" ways of being (p. 214).

Indeed the book does cause the reader to examine both Ottoman and Russian Jewish societies in a new light. The first two chapters trace the origins of what Stein terms "newspaper culture" in both Jewish communities. By juxtaposing these two chapters, and including a wealth of contextualizing scholarship. Stein induces her readers to note both the convergences and divergences of modernization.

As most of us specialize in only one geographical area, this can be very enlightening. We learn, for example, that while both Russian and Ottoman Jews expressed ambivalence, and even derision, for their vernaculars, both also succeeded, and nearly simultaneously, in creating robust popular presses in those very languages. At the same time, however, the orientations of the press organs, in particular with regard to politics and the ruling authorities, were markedly different.

Two additional sets of paired chapters round out the book. …

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

Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires
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

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.