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Jewish RadicalsA Documentary History$
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Tony Michels

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814757437

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814757437.001.0001

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“Their Intense Desire to Study” (1893)

“Their Intense Desire to Study” (1893)

(p.153) 27 “Their Intense Desire to Study” (1893)
Jewish Radicals

Ida Van Etten

NYU Press

This chapter extols the attributes of immigrant—and Russian, in particular—Jews and seeks to debunk common impressions of these Jews as dirty, unable to speak the English language, and living closely crowded in unwholesome, ill-smelling tenement quarters, therefore forming an objectionable appearance as the dregs of the population. It argues that it is not the condition in which the immigrant comes that determines their usefulness, but the power that they show in rising above their condition. The Russian Jew thus possesses the strength of character necessary for this undertaking, especially when considering how many of them had escaped oppression prior to entering the United States. Furthermore, these immigrant Jews are socially minded and temperate, favoring their coffee-houses over the taverns often frequented by other immigrant populations.

Keywords:   immigrant Jews, Russian Jews, Jewish stereotypes, coffee-houses, immigrant populations

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