Ambivalent Embrace: Jewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America

By Rachel Kranson | Go to book overview

ONE
Materially Poor, Spiritually Rich:
Poverty in the Postwar Jewish Imagination

On February 12, 1961, Dr. Judah Pilch of the American Association of Jewish Education took the podium at the Stephen Wise Congress House in New York City to discuss the culture of the shtetlach, those “little towns” of Eastern Europe that had once been home to the ancestors of most American Jews. During his presentation, Pilch portrayed the shtetl as a place of extraordinary “cohesion,” “warmth,” and “spiritual bliss.” It fostered these idyllic qualities, he claimed, because of the “precarious state of life” and “complete isolation” suffered by the Jews who lived there. For Pilch, the poverty and oppression that Jews experienced in Eastern Europe led directly to the heightened faith and joy that characterized the shtetl, making life “bearable” for them in spite of their misery.

Pilch believed that the remarkable virtues of the shtetl continued to animate the lives of the Jewish migrants who left Eastern Europe, but only so long as they remained poor and ostracized from the wider population. The Jews who bore “privations and hardships” in the immigrant slums of New York City at the turn of the century, he contended, retained a “spiritual kinship” with their Eastern European forebears. Similarly, he maintained that the halutzim, the Jewish pioneers who left “their comfortable homes and pleasures” to live in the economically insecure and war-torn state of Israel, nurtured the ideals of the shtetl.

But if, for Pilch, the Jewish inhabitants of the Lower East Side and Israel succeeded in preserving the meaningful and authentic Jewish life of the shtetl because of their shared poverty and isolation, the middle-class, wellintegrated Jews of postwar America most assuredly did not. “In an atmosphere of ‘all is well,’” Pilch lamented, “there can be little Jewish creativity.”

-17-

Notes for this page

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ambivalent Embrace: Jewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 216

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.