Chapter

Assimilation

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520079588.003.0008
Assimilation

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This chapter states that in the Diaspora today, when Jews are integrated into the polysystem of the general society, Jewish institutions are mostly reduced to purely “Jewish” issues. The individual divides his life between such Jewish institutions and participation in the institutions of the general society. Hence the word “assimilation”—like its counterpart, “secularism”—also cannot be accepted literally. For, in important respects, all Jews are assimilated into general modern culture. The intrinsic directions of the revolution aimed at creating a Jewish equivalent to that culture—an equivalent freed of the “obligation of Jewishness.” Rachel Katznelson expressed it when she wrote that by coming to Eretz-Israel, they wanted to liberate themselves from nationalism as an idee fixe, in Diaspora, nationalism hindered in living.

Keywords: Diaspora; Jews; polysystem; assimilation; secularism; culture; Jewishness; Rachel Katznelson; nationalism

Chapter.  799 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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