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Ambivalent EmbraceJewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America$
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Rachel Kranson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635439

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635439.001.0001

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(p.165) Conclusion
Ambivalent Embrace

Rachel Kranson

University of North Carolina Press

By and large, during the postwar years, Jewish resistance to middle-class norms took the form of verbal and written warnings that did not translate to concrete change. The gap between the widespread denigration of middle-class Jewish life and the minimal attempts to create alternatives to it represents more than just a quirk of postwar American Jewish history. Instead, these critiques of Jewish upward mobility comprised, in and of themselves, a crucial means by which American Jews adapted to prosperity and social acceptance, and an important means by which Jews, and especially their leaders, articulated their difference from other middle-class Americans. Significantly, this manner of asserting their Jewishness did not jeopardize the social and economic security that this new status afforded them. Even so, this continued tendency among middle-class American Jews to identify with histories of poverty and marginalization has continued to influence Jewish political investments and ideologies well into the contemporary moment.

Keywords:   Jewish, upward mobility, difference, politics

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