And Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press

Author: Eddy Portnoy

Publisher: Stanford Studies in Jewish His

ISBN: 9781503604117

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 3759

Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird--Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An alternative history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories of drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens, all plucked from the pages of the Yiddish dailies, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the Jews whose follies and foibles were fodder for urban gossip, before winding up at the bottom of bird cages or as wrapping for dead fish. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl--in short, not quite the Jews you expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.
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And Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press

Author: Eddy Portnoy

Publisher: Stanford Studies in Jewish His

ISBN: 9780804797610

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 7855

Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird--Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An alternative history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories of drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens, all plucked from the pages of the Yiddish dailies, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the Jews whose follies and foibles were fodder for urban gossip, before winding up at the bottom of bird cages or as wrapping for dead fish. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl--in short, not quite the Jews you expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.
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Author: David E. Fishman

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press

ISBN: 9780822973799

Category: History

Page: 200

View: 2075

The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture explores the transformation of Yiddish from a low-status vernacular to the medium of a complex modern culture. David Fishman examines the efforts of east European Jews to establish their linguistic distinctiveness as part of their struggle for national survival in the diaspora. Fishman considers the roots of modern Yiddish culture in social and political conditions in Imperial Tsarist and inter-war Poland, and its relationship to Zionism and Bundism. In so doing, Fishman argues that Yiddish culture enveloped all socioeconomic classes, not just the proletarian base, and considers the emergence, at the turn of the century, of a pro-Yiddish intelligentsia and a Yiddishist movement. As Fishman points out, the rise of Yiddishism was not without controversy. Some believed that the rise of Yiddish represented a shift away from a religious-dominated culture to a completely secular, European one; a Jewish nation held together by language, rather than by land or religious content. Others hoped that Yiddish culture would inherit the moral and national values of the Jewish religious tradition, and that to achieve this result, the Bible and Midrash would need to exist in modern Yiddish translation. Modern Yiddish culture developed in the midst of these opposing concepts. Fishman follows the rise of the culture to its apex, the founding of the Yiddish Scientific Institute (YIVO) in Vilna in 1925, and concludes with the dramatic story of the individual efforts that preserved the books and papers of YIVO during the destruction and annihilation of World War II and in postwar Soviet Lithuania. The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, like those efforts, preserves the cultural heritage of east European Jews with thorough research and fresh insights.
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Postvernacular Language and Culture

Author: Jeffrey Shandler

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520244160

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 263

View: 4329

"Shandler takes a wide-ranging look at Yiddish culture, including language learning, literary translation, performance, and material culture. He examines children's books, board games, summer camps, klezmer music, cultural festivals, language clubs, Web sites, cartoons, and collectibles - all touchstones of the meaning of Yiddish as it enters its second millennium. Rather than mourn the language's demise, Adventures in Yiddishland calls for taking an expansive approach to the possibilities for the future of Yiddish. Shandler's conceptualization of postvernacularity sheds important new light on contemporary Jewish culture generally and offers insights into theorizing the relation between language and culture."--BOOK JACKET.
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Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literary History

Author: Benjamin Schreier

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479895849

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 1365

He destroys in order to create. In a sweeping critique of the field, Benjamin Schreier resituates Jewish Studies in order to make room for a critical study of identity and identification. Displacing the assumption that Jewish Studies is necessarily the study of Jews, this book aims to break down the walls of the academic ghetto in which the study of Jewish American literature often seems to be contained: alienated from fields like comparative ethnicity studies, American studies, and multicultural studies; suffering from the unwillingness of Jewish Studies to accept critical literary studies as a legitimate part of its project; and so often refusing itself to engage in self-critique. The Impossible Jew interrogates how the concept of identity is critically put to work by identity-based literary study. Through readings of key authors from across the canon of Jewish American literature and culture—including Abraham Cahan, the New York Intellectuals, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Safran Foer—Benjamin Schreier shows how texts resist the historicist expectation that self-evident Jewish populations are represented in and recoverable from them. Through ornate, scabrous, funny polemics, Schreier draws the lines of relation between Jewish American literary study and American studies, multiethnic studies, critical theory, and Jewish Studies formations. He maintains that a Jewish Studies beyond ethnicity is essential for a viable future of Jewish literary study.
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How American Yiddish Theatre Survived Adversity Through Satire

Author: Joel Schechter

Publisher: Temple University Press

ISBN: 1592138748

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 7250

A lively examination of Yiddish theatre during the Great Depression.
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Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation

Author: Cecile Esther Kuznitz

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139867385

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 6997

This book is the first history of YIVO, the original center for Yiddish scholarship. Founded by a group of Eastern European intellectuals after World War I, YIVO became both the apex of secular Yiddish culture and the premier institution of Diaspora Nationalism, which fought for Jewish rights throughout the world at a time of rising anti-Semitism. From its headquarters in Vilna, Lithuania, YIVO tried to balance scholarly objectivity with its commitment to the Jewish masses. Using newly recovered documents that were believed destroyed by Hitler and Stalin, Cecile Esther Kuznitz tells for the first time the compelling story of how these scholars built a world-renowned institution despite dire poverty and anti-Semitism. She raises new questions about the relationship between Jewish cultural and political work and analyzes how nationalism arises outside of state power.
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Jewish Vernacular and the New Land

Author: Harvey Pekar,Paul Buhle

Publisher: Abrams

ISBN: 1613122284

Category: Comics & Graphic Novels

Page: 240

View: 6017

Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like nosh, schlep, and schmutz all the time, but how did these words come to pepper American English? In Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from medieval Europe to the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. This comics anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists such as Barry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. Through illustrations, comics art, and a full-length play, four major themes are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and the revival of the language. The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar, this book is a thoughtful compilation that reveals the far-reaching influences of Yiddish. Praise for Yiddishkeit: “The book is about what Neal Gabler in his introduction labels ‘Jewish sensibility.’ It pervades this volume, which he acknowledges is messy; he writes: ‘You really can't define Yiddishkeit neatly in words or pictures. You sort of have to feel it by wading into it.’ The book does this with gusto.” —New York Times “Yiddishkeit is as colorful, bawdy, and charming as the culture it seeks to represent.” —Print magazine “every bit of it brimming with the charm and flavor of its subject and seamlessly meshing with the text to create a genuinely compelling, scholarly comics experience” —Publishers Weekly “Yiddishkeit is a book that truly informs about Jewish culture and, in the process, challenges readers to pick apart their own vocabulary.” —Chicago Tribune “a postvernacular tour de force” —The Forward “A fascinating and enlightening effort that takes full use of the graphic storytelling medium in an insightful and revelatory way.” —The Miami Herald “With a loving eye Pekar and Buhle extract moments and personalities from Yiddish history.” —Hadassah “gorgeous comix-style portraits of Yiddish writers” ––Tablet “Yiddishkeit has managed to survive, if just barely, not because there are individuals dedicated to its survival, though there are, but because Yiddishkeit is an essential part of both the Jewish and the human experience.” —Neal Gabler, author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, from his introduction "The hearty hardcover is a scrumptious smorgasbord of comics, essays, and illustrations, edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, providing concentrated tastes, with historical context, of Yiddish theater, literature, characters and culture." —Heeb magazine
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The Modern Jewish Picaresque

Author: Miriam Udel

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 0472053051

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 249

View: 6436

It was only when Jewish writers gave up on the lofty Enlightenment ideals of progress and improvement that the Yiddish novel could decisively enter modernity. Animating their fictions were a set of unheroic heroes who struck a precarious balance between sanguinity and irony that author Miriam Udel captures through the phrase “never better.” With this rhetorical homage toward the double-voiced utterances of Sholem Aleichem, Udel gestures at these characters’ insouciant proclamation that things had never been better, and their rueful, even despairing admission that things would probably never get better. The characters defined by this dual consciousness constitute a new kind of protagonist: a distinctively Jewish scapegrace whom Udel denominates the polit or refugee. Cousin to the Golden Age Spanish pícaro, the polit is a socially marginal figure who narrates his own story in discrete episodes, as if stringing beads on a narrative necklace. A deeply unsettled figure, the polit is allergic to sentimentality and even routine domesticity. His sequential misadventures point the way toward the heart of the picaresque, which Jewish authors refashion as a vehicle for modernism—not only in Yiddish, but also in German, Russian, English and Hebrew. Udel draws out the contours of the new Jewish picaresque by contrasting it against the nineteenth-century genre of progress epitomized by the Bildungsroman. While this book is grounded in modern Jewish literature, its implications stretch toward genre studies in connection with modernist fiction more generally. Udel lays out for a diverse readership concepts in the history and theory of the novel while also explicating the relevant particularities of Jewish literary culture. In addressing the literary stylistics of a “minor” modernism, this study illuminates how the adoption of a picaresque sensibility allowed minority authors to write simultaneously within and against the literary traditions of Europe.
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Author: Dan Miron

Publisher: Syracuse University Press

ISBN: 9780815628583

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 412

View: 2828

This volume - a sequel to the author's A traveler disguised - further develops the analysis of the fictionality and aesthetic autonomy of the classics of Yiddish fiction. The essays in this work concentrate on the artistic reconstruction of the world.
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A Book for Just About Anyone

Author: Devorah Baum

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300212445

Category: History

Page: 296

View: 6662

In this sparkling debut, a young critic offers an original, passionate, and erudite account of what it means to feel Jewish--even when you're not. Self-hatred. Guilt. Resentment. Paranoia. Hysteria. Overbearing Mother-Love. In this witty, insightful, and poignant book, Devorah Baum delves into fiction, film, memoir, and psychoanalysis to present a dazzlingly original exploration of a series of feelings famously associated with modern Jews. Reflecting on why Jews have so often been depicted, both by others and by themselves, as prone to "negative" feelings, she queries how negative these feelings really are. And as the pace of globalization leaves countless people feeling more marginalized, uprooted, and existentially threatened, she argues that such "Jewish" feelings are becoming increasingly common to us all. Ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Sarah Bernhardt to Woody Allen, Anne Frank to Nathan Englander, Feeling Jewish bridges the usual fault lines between left and right, insider and outsider, Jew and Gentile, and even Semite and anti-Semite, to offer an indispensable guide for our divisive times.
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Translating Yiddish in the Twentieth Century

Author: Anita Norich

Publisher: University of Washington Press

ISBN: 0295804955

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 2167

Writing in Tongues examines the complexities of translating Yiddish literature at a time when the Yiddish language is in decline. After the Holocaust, Soviet repression, and American assimilation, the survival of traditional Yiddish literature depends on translation, yet a few Yiddish classics have been translated repeatedly while many others have been ignored. Anita Norich traces historical and aesthetic shifts through versions of these canonical texts, and she argues that these works and their translations form an enlightening conversation about Jewish history and identity.
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Author: Jeremy Dauber

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393247880

Category: Social Science

Page: 416

View: 7114

A rich account of Jewish humor: its nature, its development, and its vital role throughout Jewish history. In a major work of scholarship both erudite and very funny, Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organizing the product of Jews’ comic imagination over continents and centuries into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy—including the satirical, the witty, and the vulgar—he traces the ways Jewish comedy has mirrored, and sometimes even shaped, the course of Jewish history. Persecution, cultural assimilation, religious revival, diaspora, Zionism—all of these, and more, were grist for the Jewish comic mill; and Dauber’s book takes readers on the tour of the funny side of some very serious business. (And vice versa.) In a work of dazzling scope, readers will encounter comic masterpieces here that range from Talmudic rabbi jokes to medieval skits, Yiddish satires and Borscht Belt routines to scenes from Seinfeld and Broad City, and the book of Esther to Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song.” Dauber also explores the rise and fall of popular comic archetypes such as the Jewish mother, the Jewish American Princess, and the schlemiel, the schlimazel, and the schmuck, and the classic works of such masters of Jewish comedy as Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and Larry David, among many others. Jewish comedy, as Dauber writes, is serious business. And precisely what it is, how it developed, and how its various strands weave together and in conversation with the Jewish story: that’s Jewish Comedy.
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Author: Ivan Jablonka

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804799385

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 7387

Ivan Jablonka's grandparents' lives ended long before his began: although Matès and Idesa Jablonka were his family, they were perfect strangers. When he set out to uncover their story, Jablonka had little to work with. Neither of them was the least bit famous, and they left little behind except their two orphaned children, a handful of letters, and a passport. Persecuted as communists in Poland, as refugees in France, and then as Jews under the Vichy regime, Matès and Idesa lived their short lives underground. They were overcome by the tragedies of the twentieth century: Stalinism, the mounting dangers in Europe during the 1930s, the Second World War, and the destruction of European Jews. Jablonka's challenge was, as a historian, to rigorously distance himself and yet, as family, to invest himself completely in their story. Imagined oppositions collapsed—between scholarly research and personal commitment, between established facts and the passion of the one recording them, between history and the art of storytelling. To write this book, Jablonka traveled to three continents; met the handful of survivors of his grandparents' era, their descendants, and some of his far-flung cousins; and investigated twenty different archives. And in the process, he reflected on his own family and his responsibilities to his father, the orphaned son, and to his own children and the family wounds they all inherited. A History of the Grandparents I Never Had cannot bring Matès and Idesa to life, but Jablonka succeeds in bringing them, as he soberly puts it, to light. The result is a gripping story, a profound reflection, and an absolutely extraordinary history.
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The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates

Author: Adam Teller

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804799873

Category: History

Page: 328

View: 9619

It has often been claimed that Jews have a penchant for capitalism and capitalist economic activity. With this book, Adam Teller challenges that assumption. Examining how Jews achieved their extraordinary success within the late feudal economy of the eighteenth-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he shows that economic success did not necessarily come through any innate entrepreneurial skills, but through identifying and exploiting economic niches in the pre-modern economy—in particular, the monopoly on the sale of grain alcohol. Jewish economic activity was a key factor in the development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and it greatly enhanced the incomes, and thereby the social and political status, of the noble magnates, including the powerful Radziwiłł family. In turn, with the magnate's backing, Jews were able to leverage their own economic success into high status in estate society. Over time, relations within Jewish society began to change, putting less value on learning and pedigree and more on wealth and connections with the estate owners. This groundbreaking book exemplifies how the study of Jewish economic history can shed light on a crucial mechanism of Jewish social integration. In the Polish-Lithuanian setting, Jews were simultaneously a despised religious minority and key economic players, with a consequent standing that few could afford to ignore.
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A Documentary History, 1700–1950

Author: Julia Philips Cohen,Sarah Abrevaya Stein

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804791910

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 4491

This ground-breaking documentary history contains over 150 primary sources originally written in 15 languages by or about Sephardi Jews—descendants of Jews who fled medieval Spain and Portugal settling in the western portions of the Ottoman Empire, including the Balkans, Anatolia, and Palestine. Reflecting Sephardi history in all its diversity, from the courtyard to the courthouse, spheres intimate, political, commercial, familial, and religious, these documents show life within these distinctive Jewish communities as well as between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Sephardi Lives offer readers an intimate view of how Sephardim experienced the major regional and world events of the modern era—natural disasters, violence and wars, the transition from empire to nation-states, and the Holocaust. This collection also provides a vivid exploration of the day-to-day lives of Sephardi women, men, boys, and girls in the Judeo-Spanish heartland of the Ottoman Balkans and Middle East, as well as the émigré centers Sephardim settled throughout the twentieth century, including North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The selections are of a vast range, including private letters from family collections, rabbinical writings, documents of state, memoirs and diaries, court records, selections from the popular press, and scholarship. In a single volume, Sephardi Lives preserves the cultural richness and historical complexity of a Sephardi world that is no more.
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Author: Ellis Weiner,Barbara Davilman

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316025550

Category: Humor

Page: 112

View: 6525

Jane is in real estate. Today is Saturday. Jane has an open house. She must schlep the Open House signs to the car. See Jane schlep. Schlep, Jane. Schlep. Schlep, schlep, schlep. In text that captures the unque rhythms of the original Dick and Jane readers, and in 35 all-new illustrations, a story unfolds in which Dick and Jane--hero and heroine of the classic books for children that generations of Americans have used when learning to read--manage to express shades of feeling and nuances of meaning that ordinary English just can't deliver. How? By speaking Yiddish, employing terms that convey an attitude--part plucky self-assertion, part ironic fatalism. When Dick schmoozes, when Jane kvetches, when their children fress noodles at a Chinese restaurant, the clash of cultures produces genuine hilarity.
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The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America

Author: Samuel C. Heilman

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520277236

Category: Religion

Page: 336

View: 6955

Hasidism, a movement many believed had passed its golden age, has had an extraordinary revival since it was nearly decimated in the Holocaust and repressed in the Soviet Union. Hasidic communities, now settled primarily in North America and Israel, have reversed the losses they suffered and are growing exponentially. With powerful attachments to the past, mysticism, community, and charismatic leadership, Hasidism is the opposite of contemporary Western culture, which is built on the ideals of constant change, secular rationality, and individual achievement. Yet Hasidism has thrived in the Zionist state and the democratic countries of the West. Why? And how? Who Will Lead Us? finds the answers to these questions in the fascinating story of five contemporary Hasidic dynasties and their handling of the delicate issue of leadership and succession. Revolving around the central figure of the rebbe, the book explores two families with too few successors, two with too many successors, and one that believes their last rebbe continues to lead them even after his death. Samuel C. Heilman, recognized as a foremost expert on modern Jewish Orthodoxy, here provides outsiders with the essential guide to continuity in the Hasidic world.
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A Russian Jewish Intellectual at the Turn of the Century

Author: Gabriella Safran,Steven J. Zipperstein

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804753449

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 542

View: 5827

The author of "The Dybbuk," Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport, known as An-sky (1863-1920), was a figure of immense versatility and also ambiguity in Russian and Jewish intellectual, literary, and political spheres. Drawing together leading historians, ethnographers, literary scholars, and others, this far-ranging, multi-disciplinary examination of An-sky is the fullest ever produced.
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The Levantine Writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff

Author: Deborah A. Starr,Sasson Somekh

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804777888

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 304

View: 7663

The writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (1917–1979) offer a refreshing reassessment of Arab-Jewish relations in the Middle East. A member of the bourgeois Jewish community in Cairo, Kahanoff grew up in a time of coexistence. She spent the years of World War II in New York City, where she launched her writing career with publications in prominent American journals. Kahanoff later settled in Israel, where she became a noted cultural and literary critic. Mongrels or Marvels offers Kahanoff's most influential and engaging writings, selected from essays and works of fiction that anticipate contemporary concerns about cultural integration in immigrant societies. Confronted with the breakdown of cosmopolitan Egyptian society, and the stereotypes she encountered as a Jew from the Arab world, she developed a social model, Levantinism, that embraces the idea of a pluralist, multicultural society and counters the prevailing attitudes and identity politics in the Middle East with the possibility of mutual respect and acceptance.
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