THE AMERICAN JEW by James Yaffe
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THE AMERICAN JEW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fine psychosocial commentary on the Jews, the dynamics of their divisiveness, which begins with the assumption that they have now melded in the melting pot (as against Mr. Teller's study of the evolutionary Eastern European Jew earlier in this issue). But their cleavage is seen right at the beginning--Jews are idealists but also materialists; deeply spiritual but eminently practical; prone to idolize--with irreverence. Mr. Yaffe also considers at some length the residual effects of anti-Semitism (an anti-Semite is ""someone who hates Jews more than necessary"")--their placatory avoidance of the conspicuous, their self-isolation, their self-hatred. He also contrasts all the aspects of modern life in which the Jew must be insecure--is he a Jew? is he an American? the Yeshiva schools and synagogues, the stratifications of the faith, their philanthropies, agencies and organizations; their avidity for education and continuing involvement with the intellect, but the coequal incentive to keep Sammy running; the Jewish vote and their bind in the question of integration (somewhat differently interpreted by Mr. Teller); the family--that firmest foundation and final refuge; and the survival of Judaism in a country where intermarriage is accelerating. . . . Among other things, Jews buy more books than any other people--they should buy this one--it's an informing, illumining, stimulating assessment--mandatory reading for Our Crowd.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1968
Publisher: Random House