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Lecture 12

Lecture 12.docx

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Department
History
Course Code
HIST 219
Professor
Dan Heller

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Lecture 12: 16 October 2013 • Focus on everyday people, casual thinking th • London – Georgian Period; 18 century • France – village “Assimilation” vs. “Acculturation” • Assimilation – members of a group lose their distinguishing features and disappear into another group • Acculturation – the process by which one group incorporates one or more cultural traits of another group, resulting in new or blended cultural patterns o Can include behavioral changes, such as similarity in speech, manners, recreations, diet and religious custom o Not necessarily accompanied by abandonment of one’s own culture Georgian London 1740-1830 • Second major difference: Jews living in London have no interest in reconciling English culture with Judaism • Jewish case in London vs. Other Western: 1. Government: English government did not view Judaism as a threat a. Mercantilism in English economy b. If Jews came into contact with Protestantism, it would hasten the coming of the messiah 2. Nature of British system – In England, unlike central Europe, there was no tradition of a strong centralizing state a. Consensus that state power should be minimized and individual freedom and responsibility should be enhanced 3. Did not have to dismantle kehilla system because it did not exist – absence of strong Jewish communal governing body a. No large impetus to establish the system there 4. Violence – anti- Jewish hostility; In England, there was no strong anti-Jewish movement a. There is anti-Jewish hostility, but there is no place for it in the public sphere • Jewish immigrants in London have unprecedented freedom as to how they will live their lives as Jews • Home to small number of Jews, 15,000 Jews by end of the 18 century • 1850s – 37% of England’s Jews live in London • Majority are penniless and come from German lands • Earn their keep in low status jobs on the streets o Hawking goods o Buying/selling second-hand goods • Some can improve economic situation and become manufacturers or shopkeepers o Some become overseas merchants and dealers in luxury goods Jewish Elite in London • Abraham Goldsmid • Discard Jewish dress and language – men no longer wear the long robe, begin to learn and speak English • 1750s – onwards: focus on physical distinctiveness o Polly de Symons – painting of large Jewish woman, overly gaudy, haughty  Anti-Jewish depiction • Attend theater, opera, gossip, play cards, portraits painted by best artists of the period, throw lavish parties • Purchase large country homes outside of London – sprawling acres of land • Changes in social interactions • 1730s-1740s: Rabbis publishing pamphlets about Jewish elite life—no longer keeping kosher o Social contact with Christian elites o Male Jewish elite were emulating Christian elites’ sexual affairs – the mistress o 1746 – pamphlet – wealthy Jewish men love brothels and adultery; were with Christian whores • By the end of the 1700s, 2/3 major synagogues in London have difficulty gaining 10 men for morning prayers o In tradition, need 10 men to constitute prayer • None of these changes have anything to do with politics or ideology • Berlin – Jews tried to emulate upper class values • In England, the struggle for emancipation was different o Suffer from small number of civil restrictions – no restrictions on homes or jobs  Can’t serve as prime minister unless Christian  Can’t attend Oxford or Cambridge • Campaign to give Jews full rights was led by Evangelical Christians o Felt that the more rights Jews had, the more likely to convert o When they get full rights, it is not considered a big deal • Example of elites who are changing how they think or behave without justification or hopes of achieving more political rights • The more people pursue wealth, the more likely they are to abandon tradition Lower Class Jews in London • Acculturation was not restricted to the elite, but touched everyone’s lives • The Jewish poor had opportunities for extensive social contact with non- Jews o Shared neighborhoods, buildings/rooming houses o Street hawkers/peddlers also adapted to the patterns of urban life to the class they belonged  Dress – by the end of 18 century, gave up Jewish dress (beard, coat, hat)  Education – common for the children of the Jewish poor to be put to work by their parents at an early age • Practice on the non-Jewish poor as well o Recreation – theaters, race horses, music halls, anywhere but praying  Prize fighting – Daniel Mendoza, 1763-1836 – one of the best prizefighters of late 18 century England • New type of s
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