Of Moses and Marx: Folk Ideology and Folk History in the Jewish Labor Movement
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999 - 248 pages
The Jewish Labor Movement was a radical subculture that flourished within the trade union and political movements in the United States in the early part of the twentieth century. Jewish immigrant activists--socialists, communists, anarchists, and labor Zionists--adapted aspects of the traditions with which they were raised in order to express the politics of social transformation. In doing so, they created a folk ideology which reflected their dual ethnic/class identity. This book explores that folk ideology, through an analysis of interviews with participants in the Jewish Labor Movement as well as through a survey of the voluminous literature written about that movement.
A synthesis of political ideology and ethnic tradition was carefully crafted by secular working-class Jewish immigrant radicals who rediscovered and reformulated elements of Jewish traditions as vehicles for political organizing. Commonly held symbols of their cultural identity--the Yiddish language, rituals such as the Passover seder, remembered narratives of the Eastern European shtetl, and biblical imagery--served as powerful tools in forging political solidarity among fellow Jewish workers and activists within the Jewish Labor Movement.
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