A Struggle for Identity: The Role of Landsmanshaftn in Preserving and Expanding Jewish American Culture
Some ethnic historians believe that one cannot Americanize without complete assimilation. However, a number of Jewish immigrants who were members of landsmanshaftn became model Americans, along with their children. How did members of these groups maintain a loyalty to their past while adopting new American traditions? While some experts may disagree, I will provide evidence that landsmanshaftn allowed these Jewish immigrants to acculturate, rather than assimilate into American society. I hope to prove that out of many ethnic adjustment theories on Americanization, the Community Theory, which is based on this idea of acculturation rather than assimilation, was adopted by these Jewish members of landsmanshaftn and that in the end, this process created Jewish Americans. After providing a history and analysis of these different theories of ethnic adjustment, I will provide a lustory of landsmanshaftn in America in addition to their role in Jewish American history. I will provide evidence from a number of different landsmanshaft groups which shows that their programs and structures encouraged Jewish immigrants to acculturate.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2007
- F&M Theses Collection