Jewish Culture in America Essay Examples & Outline

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Jewish Culture in America


While the Jewish religion is the fastest groping religion in America, undoubtedly the religion faces the most significant forms of prejudice because of the recent attacks on American soil that has been targeted at the Jews. This paper is going to look at the Jewish religion in terms of its economic, political, as well as social history.

Despite the verity, that there are no distinct and accurate studies that can indicate the actual growth of Jewish population in the United States, however, comparative figures indicate that Jewish is fast growing and acquiring most believers. The lack of distinct and accurate population measure comes from the actuality that America does not place emphasis on the religious affiliations of the people.

In addition, people attending Synagogues cannot be counted because they do not enroll in the membership list like the traditional practice of Christians. The evidence, of being the fastest growing religion in America, emanates from the United Nations demographic survey, which put Jewish religion as growing at an accelerated rate in the United States.

Considering the huge population in the western countries including America and Canada, it is safe to assume that the religion is fast growing in the area. The census count in the US does not include demographics on religious affiliations for fear of patronization.

There are several misconceptions about Jews in America, which places Jews at times at the heart of religious and economic prejudice. There is a stereotype in the United States that all the people that are Jewish are economically advantaged. However, this is just a misconception, further, it is also of the essence to understand that most people believe that Jews often keep to themselves (Edidin, 1947). In order to understand demographics on Jews in the United States, it is vital to appreciate simple facts about the Jewish population. According to the United Nations survey, most Jews in the United States constitute the middle and upper class of the society.

Factually, America belonged to the native communities, which implies that other communities migrated into western civilization in search of employment or white collar jobs. This is an indicator ion that American Jews live with the fear that patronization and religious discrimination is inevitable in the social arena.

Religiously, the fundamental teaching of the Jewish is that people ought to strive to ensure that they are kind to nature and generous to every person. This fundamental teaching upholds human life more than any other relevant creature in the universe. The Jewish religion also gives an aspect of the earlier prophets, and their teachings go back to the ancient times.
The first axiom of Jewish economic theory is that “Man is created in God’s Image”, and Judaism is often interpreted as meaning that God is the creator of the world, and the man was given the divine essence in order to be a partner with God in his creation (Edidin, 1947).

It is of the essence to understand that Jews often represent a group of people as compared to a distinct race or ethnicity. It is important to understand that although Jews originally came from the Middle East, many races and people have over the years have mixed together in Jewish communities over the centuries, and especially after the Jews were forced out of Palestine in the second century C.E (Wertheimer, 2007). What is important to understand about Jews is that there is a common Jewish Heritage that exists among them, and it is often passed down from generation to generation. In fact, for many Jews, the binding force is Judaism, which is a term that is usually referred to the Jewish religion and it sometimes that is used to refer to each and every Jew. It is important to understand that most Jews often consider the State of Israel as being their homeland. Israel is located in the Middle Easy with a land mass of around 7,992 square miles. The United States, in fact, has more Jews that Israel and there are times that people argue that it is indeed the De facto home of the Jews. Israel and the United States often represent the two major Jewish populations regions in the globe (Edidin, 1947).

It is of the essence to note that although the Jews comprise less than 3 percent of the American population, the Jews often have a disproportionately larger representation when it comes to the American government as compared to other persons. Some of the areas that they are disproportionately represented include the American government, academia, entertainment, and business. However, on a whole, Jews have often enjoyed a greater acceptance in the United States as compared to any other country and they have been able to figure prominently in American culture and politics (Wertheimer, 2007).

Few Jews came to the United States as being wealthy and prominent, however, at the end of the 19th century, several German families have been able to accumulate fortunes. At the time of arrivals, most Jews were forming and filling slums of East Coast cities, however, by the year 1920’s, Jews in America started gaining a lot of of economic success.

For this reason, in the Jewish economy in the United States, the 20th century is often regarded to as an upward social and economic mobility (Edidin, 1947). It is of the essence to note that during recent measures of income, the personal and family incomes of the Jews often appear to be slightly higher as compared to those of the controls. It is an obvious factor that education does affect earning power, and the controls are often defined in many cases as having college degrees. For this reason, if a comparison of the Jews with college degrees is made, it is seen that Jews often have higher education as compared to the controls. It is imperative to note that the children of Jewish Immigrant families can be said to have made exceptionally good use of free education that was offered by the American government through public schools as compared to any other immigrant group that existed at the time.

In terms of occupation, it is of the essence to understand that the intermediate link that exists between income and education is employment. It has been seen that indeed Jews often record higher numbers of fully employed persons as compared to the controls (Wertheimer, 2007). For this reason, American Jews can be said to be well schooled with two-thirds of them having college degrees and half of these people often earn and advancing the degree. It is also of the essence to critically note that the U.S population is barely as half as well as educated as compared to the Jews.

However, the current literature that exists in terms of American Jews lacks measures of wealth as well as income, however, the data that is available shows the earnings of Jews and especially those who are college educated. Further, in an economic sense, it is important to also note that the modern day jews are often educationally, economically and occupationally more successful as compared to most Americans because they were born into families that were privileged than most Americans. Further, Jews are often known to go for higher education as compared to any other group in the American population.

In the social sense, Jews are one of the American ethnic groups giving especially high value to family. It is of the essence to understand that immigrants that come to the United States that are Jews often come as being extended families. It will be foolhardy to discuss the social aspects of Jews without discussing one of the most prominent features that are the Holocaust. The word holocaust is derived from the Greek term holocaust, which refers to an animal sacrifice given to a god where the full animal is totally burnt. For very many years, the term holocaust was applied in English to mean great massacres (Wertheimer, 2007).

From the early 1960s, the word is in use by a number of scholars as well as well-known authors to denote the mass murder of the Jewish people. The biblical term Shoah that is also spelled as Shoah or Shoa mean calamity. This word turned out to be the standard Hebrew word for the Holocaust beginning from the early 1940s, particularly in the European continent and Israel. The Nazi supporters used a euphemistic term, the Final Solution to the Jewish inquiry, and that phrase Final Solution is extensively used to refer to the genocide of the Jewish people. The Nazi party used the term lebensunwertes Leben which means life unworthy of life; this is in line with their victims who are the Jews, in an effort to substantiate the killings.

The holocaust disaster all through the years 1933 to the year 1945 was a huge occurrence. It started in Germany and finally enclosed a region taking in a majority of the continent of Europe. This was as well an event that a number of executors, a large number of victims and a mass of witnesses went through. The three factions were different from each other, and they did not break up in their lifetime. Each of the groups witnessed the occurrence in its personal viewpoint and all harbored different set of feelings and responses. The main perpetrator was Adolf Hitler, who was known as the dictator. He was the senior architect of the act; if he were not there, it would not have happened.

The Nazi persecution of the Jewish people left millions of families from all over the European continent displaced. Through their huge concentration camp organization, accommodating more than one thousand campsites of a variety of sizes, all tailored to incarcerate innocent people, regarded as sub-Human in accordance with the Nazi standards. All the human rights were taken over by the Nazi laws, regulations, conditions and random choices (Wertheimer, 2007). Approximately all the main German cities had at least one slave manual labor camp close by. The prisoners in these labor camps were compelled in the ache of death to toil for the German war effort, without pay, insufficient food and other important necessities to live. Death camps, built for the single purpose of mass killings through poison gas, torture, illnesses, starvation and shootings were employed by the Nazi supporters to eliminate their fellow humans, children, men, infants as well as women by plan.

There are those people who say that the holocaust did not occur at all or probably a small number of people were killed, however not millions of people as said. Historical information proved over and over that the Nazi Germany arranged and executed their plan to get rid of the people they believed to be Sub-human on the European continent (Wertheimer, 2007). Precise numbers for truly how many people died due to the Nazi system are merely not accessible and by no means will be. Studies conducted by a number of the globe’s most competent historians put the figures of holocaust victims killed by government plan to be below twelve million and possibly more. The refusal that holocaust occurred is referred to as the holocaust denial.

By definition, it is the denial of the occurrence of the genocide of the Jewish people during the holocaust in the Second World War. The main claims of holocaust refutation are that the Nazi regime of Germany did not have any final solution plan or intention of eliminating Jewish people. In addition, there is rejection that the Nazi regime used elimination camps along with gas chambers to mass massacre Jewish people. The exact number of Jewish people killed was considerably less than the historically acknowledged number of five to six million. The people who deny the holocaust occurred prefer to call their work as past revisionism and refuse to be called as deniers. On the other hand, a number of scholars consider it to be misinformation because the methods of holocaust denial are different from those of legal, historical review (Fishman, 1995). On the contrary, the holocaust denial pressure group supports its approach in the predetermined context that the holocaust, as recognized by normal historiography, did not happen.

The Jewish contribution, when it comes to the American popular culture, can be described as being so vast, and the various references guide to this subject often faces what can describe a being as a daunting task. There has been a rich pantheon of actors, films, composers, and entertainers that have helped shape and the most enduring contribution of Jews to the modern contemporary American culture (Gruber, 2003). An interesting discovery about the Jewish popular culture can be said to be the role played by Jewish performers, songwriters and producers in the emergence of rap, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and almost all forms of popular music. There has been a decrease in anti-semitism in the United States especially after the world War II.

This might be blamed on the secularization of the American life as well as the decline of the religious observance among-st many Jews. Further, it is also of importance to understand that in the 21st century, there has been the intensification and assimilation of million of Jews into the American popular culture and this has contributed to the eradication of the boundaries which have separated Jews from the rest of American society. This has led to many Jews that exist in popular culture having little identification with their roots and being integrated into the mainstream American cultural lifestyle.

In regards to women, the role played by the Jewish women is not defined in an easy manner. The practices of the Old Testament and the Holy book seem to have recognition of the existing different roles that are supportive in a mutual way, as well as functions of women and men. The two encourage a balance family life and social life. There are many Americans who consider the Jewish religion to be one that oppresses women. On the other hand, Jewish women will make comments on the dignity and liberty they derive from the faith they follow that is Judaism. Many of these Jewish women see being a true Jew is something that is at mot times met with compromise by actions and practices that are oppressive in nature and that are rooted in the differences in culture. It can also be due to expediency politically.

References

Gruber, S. D., Rocheleau, P., & Tilden, S. J. (2003). American synagogues: A century of architecture and Jewish community. New York: Rizzoli.
Fishman, S. B. (1995). A breath of life: Feminism in the American Jewish community. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press.
Wertheimer, J., & Jewish Theological Seminary of America. (2007). Imagining the American Jewish community. Waltham, Mass. [u.a.: University Press of New England [u.a..
Edidin, B. M. (1947). Jewish community life in America. New York: Hebrew Pub. Co.