Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 67–77 | Cite as

Back to orthodoxy: The new ethic and ethnics in American Jewish Literature

  • Thomas Friedmann


Short Story Contemporary JEWRY Doxy American Jewish Life Mystic Union 
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  1. 1.
    (VI, May 25, 1986, p. 50). Friedman specifies that Israelis simply do not think of Conservative or Reform Judaism as an alternative to Orthodoxy, an attitude supported by the language which separates society intodati (religious or observant) andlo dati (not religious).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    World of Our Fathers (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1976) p. 196.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alan Lelchuk, “The Death of the Jewish Novel,”The New York Times (VII, November 25, 1984), p. 38.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The Holocaust in American Jewish Fiction, (Ohio State U. Press: Columbus, 1979), p. 121. Alexander quotes Howe’s line about the desire to “bleach” away the past.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Works by Bruce Jay Friedman, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, and Arthur Miller often contain no major Jewish characters. Leslie Fiedler’s attempts to locate Jews in Mailer’s fiction are so ingenious that they merit an appreciative note from Robert Alter.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The Kemelman series, Jay Neugeboren’sBefore My Life Began (1985), and short stories by Diane Levenberg (Response) and Tova Reich (The Atlantic), rehabilitate rabbis, signaling perhaps an end to the symbolic use of rabbis and to the almost knee-jerk rejection of Orthodoxy.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lelchuk actually echoes the more sympathetic but no less bleak views of Ruth Wisse and Irving Howe that the attempts of contemporary Jewish writers to authenticate their ethnicity is forcing them to resort to places and times that are not located in the contemporary world or to subject matter beyond their experience. See Howe’s “Introduction” toJewish American Stories (New York: New American Library, 1977).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    One good reason for not attempting to discuss here the religious value systems of Cohen, Nissenson and Ozick, is Alan L. Berger’s detailed and very perceptive discussion in hisCrisis and Covenant: The Holocaust in American Jewish Fiction (Albany: The SUNY Press, 1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Friedmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishOnondaga Community College of SUNYUSA

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