Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature

Edited by Emily Miller Budick

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791450680, 296 pages, August 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450673, 296 pages, September 2001

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Table of contents



Chapter One.
The Construction and Deconstruction of Jewish Zionist Identity
Eliezer Schweid

Chapter Two.
Hebrew Literature and Dor Hamedinah: Portrait of a Literary Generation
A. B. Yehoshua

Chapter Three.
The Complex Fate of the Jewish American Writer
Morris Dickstein

Chapter Four.
Philip Roth's o Jerusalem and Back
H. M. Daleski

Chapter Five.
Contemporary Israeli Literature and the Subject of Fiction: From Neighborhood to the Self
Gershon Shaked

Chapter Six.
Magnified and Sanctified: Liturgy in Contemporary Jewish American Literature
Hana Wirth-Nesher

Chapter Seven.
Jazz and Jewspeech: The Anatomy of Yiddish in American Jewish Culture
David G. Roskies

Chapter Eight.
The Yiddish and the Hebrew Writers Head for Home
Ruth Wisse

Chapter Nine.
The Conversion of the Jews and Other Narratives of Self-Definition: Notes Toward the Writing of Jewish American Literary History; or, Adventures in Hebrew School
Michael P. Kramer

Chapter Ten.
The African American and Israeli “Other” in the Construction of Jewish American Identity
Emily Miller Budick

Chapter Eleven.
Schizolingua: Or, How Many Years Can Modern Hebrew Remain Modern? On the Ideological Dictates of the Hebrew Language
Yitzhak Laor

Chapter Twelve.
Betrayal of the Mother Tongue in the Creation of National Identity
Nili Rachel Scharf Gold

Chapter Thirteen.
German Jewish Writers during the Decline of the Hapsburg Monarchy: Assessing the Assessment of Gershon Shaked
Wolfgang Iser



Israeli and American critics debate what constitutes Jewish identity in modern Jewish literature.


By creating a dialogue between Israeli and American Jewish authors, scholars, and intellectuals, this book examines how these two literatures, which traditionally do not address one another directly, nevertheless share some commonalities and affinities. The disinclination of Israeli and American Jewish fictional narratives to gravitate toward one another tells us much about the processes of Jewish self-definition as expressed in literary texts over the last fifty years. Through essays by prominent Israeli Americanists, American Hebraists, Israeli critics of Hebrew writing, and American specialists in the field of Jewish writing, the book shows how modern Jewish culture rewrites the Jewish tradition across quite different ideological imperatives, such as Zionist metanarrative, the urge of Jewish immigrants to find Israel in America, and socialism. The contributors also explore how that narrative turn away from religious tradition to secular identity has both enriched and impoverished Jewish modernity.

Emily Miller Budick is Ann and Joseph Edelman Professor of American Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the author of Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation.


"Budick has gathered and arranged all the pieces meticulously. " — CHOICE

"The focus on ideology and identity are central to much thinking about ethnic literature and cultural studies, and the question of Jewish identity and self-definition apart from religion is a central one today. This book will be a must-have for the bookshelves of a wide reading audience, including but by no means limited to scholars with an interest in Israeli literature, politics, and culture; American studies; and ethnic and cultural studies. " — Sara R. Horowitz, author of Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction

"This book looks at modern Jewish culture through both American and Israeli eyes, while simplifying or privileging neither, teaching us that they are part of the same modern, and increasingly postmodern project. That is quite an achievement. " — David Suchoff, Colby College