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From Yiddish Socialism to Jewish Liberalism

From Yiddish Socialism to Jewish Liberalism

The Politics and Social Vision of Pins and Needles, 1937–1941

(p.201) 7 From Yiddish Socialism to Jewish Liberalism
All Together Different
Daniel Katz
NYU Press

This chapter discusses how leaders of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) began to assign new meaning to the union's cultural activities as they devoted an enormous portion of educational resources of the union to the Broadway production Pins and Needles. The revue, created at the height of the Popular Front, demonstrates the aspirations of union leaders struggling to come to terms with their new role in the welfare state and as players in helping to shape foreign policy. For ILGWU leaders, Pins and Needles became a venue to express their position as political and cultural insiders. The show points to the union's weakening commitment to diverse ethnic and racial cultures and isolates the moment when the ILGWU leadership began to accept a dominant American culture.

Keywords:   International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, ILGWU, Broadway review, union leaders, welfare state, foreign policy

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