Native American Studies

Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and by Steven E. Aschheim

By Steven E. Aschheim

Brothers and Strangers lines the heritage of German Jewish attitudes, regulations, and stereotypical photos towards japanese eu Jews, demonstrating the ways that the ancient rupture among japanese and Western Jewry constructed as a functionality of modernism and its imperatives. via the Eighteen Eighties, such a lot German Jews had inherited and used such unfavourable photographs to represent rejection in their personal ghetto earlier and to stress the distinction among glossy “enlightened” Jewry and its “half-Asian” counterpart. in addition, stereotypes of the ghetto and the jap Jew figured prominently within the progress and disposition of German anti-Semitism. now not every body shared those unfavorable preconceptions, even though, and through the years a competing post-liberal snapshot emerged of the Ostjude as cultural hero. Brothers and Strangers examines the genesis, improvement, and effects of those altering forces of their usually advanced cultural, political, and highbrow contexts.

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Additional resources for Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness, 1800-1923

Sample text

Horowitz noted, lay in the very nature of the Polish Jew, for there was a fundamental lack of correspondence between his external appearance and his inner being, a dichotomy that made it difficult for the observer to really understand him. " Eastern Jews, at least according to this analysis, were masters of role-play. Why, asked Horowitz, did Polish Jews indulge in these pretenses? This was less a matter of intentional hypocrisy than a deeply rooted element of their historical being. The disharmony between inner and outer, body and spirit, was at the basis of their existence and was a direct outcome of ghetto life.

Repulsive enthusiasm . . wild gesticulations . . confused murmurings . . piercing outcries . . effeminate movements . . "12 From 1800 to 1850 German Jews applied the critique of the ghetto to themselves as well as to other Jews; only when German Jewry was sufficiently confident that its own ghetto inheritance had been overcome did the stereotype of the Ostjude assume its full meaning. The Eastern European Jew became exclusively identified as the ghetto Jew toward the middle of the nineteenth century, when most German Jews began to regard their own project of cultural assimilation as relatively complete.

42 Perhaps the new rationalism made their position entirely predictable, but the attack was not limited to manifestations of Polish mysticism and irrationalism. It was equally vehement against traditional Talmudic modes of discourse, this time on the grounds of their exaggerated scholasticism. The non-Jewish perception of the Talmud rapidly came to be accepted by Jewish reformers, and the Talmudists, especially the Polish variety, were said to be sharp but captious; their wit and shrewdness were emphasized at the cost of all other spiritual qualities.

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