“Strange Times to Be a Jew”: Themes of Whiteness, Identity, and Sanctuary in the Imagined Jewish Utopias of Grand Island and Sitka

  • Justin NordstromEmail author


This chapter examines utopian visions of nineteenth-century politician Mordecai Noah, who proposed that Grand Island in New York would become a gathering point for world Jewry, and contemporary author Michael Chabon, whose novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union envisioned Sitka, Alaska, as a safe haven for Jews fleeing attacks on Israel. Noah and Chabon offered utopian alternatives to American assimilation—imagining Jewish utopias that fostered ethnic identity while allowing Jewish engagement in American culture. By expressing this eutopian possibility, Noah’s Ararat and Chabon’s Sitka mirror the concern of individual Jews from the nineteenth century to the present.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State’s HazletonPennsylvania State UniversityHazletonUSA

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