The Narrow Bridge: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Brettschneider (Political Theory/Bloomsburg Univ.) brings together 20 articulate voices to walk the narrow bridge over the troubled waters of multiculturalism.

The foreword by Cornel West, of Harvard, anticipates the many contributors who discuss the "unique Jewish cultural amalgam" in America "that has yielded both relative material prosperity and existential anxiety." Ironically, it is the collection's only gentile contributor who raises the question of Jewish intermarriage and assimilation, the very "melting pot" that multiculturalism rejects ("Are the state of Israel and palpable anti-Semitism," West asks, "the only solid pillars for Jewish identity and continuity in light of a Jewish exogenous marriage rate of over 50 percent in America?"). Moreover, three quarters of the contributors seem to display stronger multicultural credentials as leaders of feminist and lesbian organizations than as proponents of Jewish "difference." Nonetheless, the professors of various disciplines gathered here, like sociologist Nora Gold, seem to have started out sharing the hope that multiculturalism would, in her words, "provide a social climate where Jewish uniqueness would be legitimized along with the uniqueness of other social groups." Most are disappointed that multiculturalism has not only failed to welcome Jews, but may have contributed to a rise, rather than a decline, in anti-Semitism. Brettschneider says, "Historic anti- Semitic fantasies have resurfaced at times—now from marginalized, rather than powerful, groups—about how Jews run the world and are to blame for the world's problems . . . despite our minority status and experience, often we are marginalized in multicultural circles." Many of the contributors seem to have subsequently turned inward, to work toward increasing the Jewish community's acceptance of women, homosexuals, and Jews of color.

America is throwing a loud, colorful, multicultural party, and these academics (painfully successful, white, and secular) wonder why they weren't invited.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813522906
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 402
  • Product dimensions: 5.93 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. Multiculturalism, Jews, and Democracy: Situating the Discussion 1
Challenges of Difference at Bridges 27
Beyond the Taboo: Talking about Class 42
Klal Israel: Lesbians and Gays in the Jewish Community 58
Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Quebecois: Jewish Politics in Multicultural Canada 73
Toward a Multicultural Politics: A Jewish Feminist Perspective 89
Stayed on Freedom: Jew in the Civil Rights Movement and After 105
Black, White, and Red: Jewish and African Americans in the Communist Party 123
Pioneers in Dialogue: Jews Building Bridges 136
Of Haiti and Horseradish 149
Jews and the Multicultural University Curriculum 163
Jews and African Americans as Cotrainers in Antiracism and Antioppression Education 178
Making Room for Jews in Multicultural Public School Education 191
The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life 207
Hearing the Call: Solidarity with Ethiopian Jews 219
Voices from the Field: Multiculturalism as Experienced in Jewish Social Service Agencies 236
Facilitating Multicultural Progress: Community Economic Development and the American Jewish Community 247
What Does It Mean to Be an "American"? 267
Contributors 287
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