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JewishHistoryYidlInTheMiddleVideoPaper

JewishHistoryYidlInTheMiddleVideoPaper - Jewish History...

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Jewish History Matthew Zabinsky Yidl in the Middle Video Paper 5/3/07 Yidl in the Middle: Growing Up Jewish in Iowa Marlene Booth is a middle-aged Jewish woman who resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has a husband and two children, a boy named Raffe and a girl named Amira. Jews don’t stand out much in Cambridge, Massachusetts; “they’re just part of the mix.” But Marlene Booth did not grow up in a freethinking, New England town like Cambridge, Massachusetts. She spent her childhood and adolescence in the heart of America- the quaint, cornfield-ridden state of Iowa. This peculiar upbringing is the subject of a self-directed 1998 documentary Yidl in the Middle: Growing Up Jewish in Iowa . Let me start off by declaring my utter lack of familiarity with Iowan Jews (at first and second glance the terms seem oxymoronic). In a part of the United States known for an overwhelmingly White Anglo-Saxon Protestant population, I never imagined that a racial or religious minority of significant size could comfortably survive. Boy was I wrong- Jews have been surviving, if not quite thriving, in Iowa for the last fifty years. 1950s Iowa was a base of power for ‘wholesome, patriotic Americans’: conformity ruled the day and 99% of the state’s residents followed some form of Christian doctrine.
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