The New Cultural Trends

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI:
The New Cultural Trends

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Mendele Mocher Seforim's Benjamin the Third or Sholem Aleichem's Tevye the Milkman still view specific historical events in ahistorical, folklorized yet text-related terms. The belief in an abstract “destiny” as governing the lot of the nation and the individual, to the minutest detail, is reflected in that repeatedly used Yiddish word bashert. The new trends are manifested in a return to history. Solomon Maimon admires the beauty of history as opposed to the dreariness of the Talmud. A return to history means actively interfering in its events and in the fate of Jews in a given context—for example, voting in elections, participating in demonstrations and strikes. Hence the importance of political organization, political awareness, and a personal decision on one's own destiny in light of one's understanding of a given political situation. Indeed, the two major movements influential among Jews—Zionism and Socialism—both set out to interfere in the process of history.

Keywords: Mendele Mocher Seforim; Sholem Aleichem; destiny; bashert; trends; history; Solomon Maimon; Jews; Zionism; Socialism

Chapter.  4162 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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