The background against which Danny must make his decision about how much to assimilate into popular culture is the changing political and cultural situation of Jews in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For hundreds of years, Jews were excluded physically and intellectually from the predominantly Christian civilization. They lived in their own world. As long as their communities, called ghettos, paid taxes and acted in a passive, almost subservient manner, they were allowed to exist peaceably. Their schools taught mostly traditional Jewish texts, with little instruction in secular affairs. The French Revolution of 1789 had a great impact on Jews and their communities. To a certain extent, more and more Jews were prompted to enter mainstream society. However, a new dilemma arose for them — the same kind of dilemma that Danny Saunders faces in
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