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Jewish Paper 1 - Damon Barnett 0528253 February 5 2008...

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Damon Barnett 0528253 February 5, 2008 Paper 1 Acculturation in the Twentieth Century Today’s societies consist of many different heterogeneous cultures mixed throughout history. It is rare to find a society that has not acculturated in some ways to accommodate the secular world. Jewish society in the twentieth century was in the process of acculturation to the secular societies that they chose to live in. Some Jews who held stronger orthodox Jewish traditions took longer to accept the secular world, there was an ongoing struggle between the new and old world. In France and other parts Europe and then later in the United States, middle class Jews did anything they could to assimilate into outsider cultures. Nosferatu, The Dybbuk and The Jazz Singer, as well as the three primary sources, all show the tensions involved in the process of acculturation and assimilation into the new world. Acculturation, in a Jewish context, is best described as the adoption of the culture and secular traditions of the surrounding society. As mentioned in lecture, “Assimilation consists of two things, one to acculturate into the society, and the second is to be accepted into the culture” (Lecture, 1/17). Acculturation was sometimes harder to obtain in close nit Shtetl’s and traditionally orthodox Jewish communities. As Eva Hoffman points out in Shtetl , “unlike other minority groups, Jews had no wish to assimilate, to take on the coloring of the surrounding culture, to become like the others” (Shtetl 46). At the beginning of Polish occupation, Jews stayed within their own culture. Another factor that may hinder the Jewish societies best efforts to acculturate is the denial of the gentile population. Historically acculturation has been embraced by Jews to fit in to the societies 1
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they live in, weather it is immediate or not depends on the context of the situation.
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