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That Pride of Race and CharacterThe Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South$
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Caroline E. Light

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479854530

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479854530.001.0001

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Loving Kindness and Its Legacies

(p.212) Conclusion
That Pride of Race and Character

Caroline E. Light

NYU Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the preceding discussions and presents some final thoughts. This book contributes to scholarship on racial and ethnic identity by showing that belonging in the South was not just a matter of imitating whiteness; it required a complex staging of one's membership in an ostensibly united community of chivalrous men and respectable ladies. In the Jewish South, benevolence and honor—concepts infused with gendered and racialized meaning—were inseparable, and immigrant Jews had to learn to navigate an unfamiliar political and cultural climate in which particular modes of etiquette and collective memory were essential. Their exceptional performance of gemilut hasadim gave southern Jews a means of proving not just their capacity to “take care of their own” but provided irrefutable proof of their belonging in a narrative of southern transcendence.

Keywords:   southern Jews, Jewish South, benevolence, honor, ethnic identity, gemilut hasadim

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