"Assimilation and its Discontents" - How success ruined the New York Jew

by David Samuels in New York Magazine
The ascendancy of the Jews of New York can be viewed as a Hollywood-style triumph, but it can also be read as the tragedy of a group of brilliant outsiders who remade a city in their own image, only to cut themselves off from the roots of their tribal genius, ensuring that the future will belong to the children of the new outsiders—Koreans, Indians, Russians, and Chinese. ...

I know plenty of Jews who protest the tribal insularity of their community and deny any attachment to religion while proclaiming their fervent attachment to universal values. They fear what it is that makes them signify so powerfully to others. They root for the Mets and vote Democratic out of an atavistic attachment to the idea of the underdog. There is something ineffably sad and utterly American about the communal progression from tribal Judaism to a vague and watered-down idea of “Jewishness.”

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