Pageants of Sorrow, Celebration and Protest: The Public Culture of American Jews

Ezra Mendelsohn

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XII: Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112030
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854608 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Pageants of Sorrow, Celebration and Protest: The Public Culture of American Jews

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This chapter discusses the public culture of American Jews. It discusses communal observances that were in part civic rituals of affirmation and self-definition and in part ideological and political statements in the guise of ethnic pageantry. These pageants of commemoration, celebration, and protest provided opportunities for transcending cultural and class disparities and enmities. Two of these events were commemorated throughout the United States; the third occurred in New York City alone. The first in time was the funeral of the popular Yiddish novelist and dramatist, Nahum Meyer Shaikevich (better known by his pseudonym, Shomer); the second was the celebration of 250th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America which was participated by mayors and former U.S. president Grover Cleveland and the third, were protest demonstrations mourning the victims of the October pogroms in tsarist Russia.

Keywords: public culture; American Jews; communal observances; statements; ethnic pageantry; Nahum Meyer Shaikevich; Jewish settlement; protest demonstrations; October pogroms; Russia

Chapter.  9327 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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