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Kaddish—: The Final Frontier

Kaddish—: The Final Frontier Kaddish-- The Final Frontier Sara R. Horowitz The depiction of Jewish ritual on American television stands out from ordinary TV fare. Not surprisingly, since its early popularization the culture of television in America has been vaguely Christian. Vaguely, because television programs depict a fairly secularized culture, with religion often left unstated and unobtrusive; Christian, because the dominant culture in America is Christian, and thus need not be specified. Religious markers, when they appear in the course of regular television series, are Christian, and their use implies the presumption of an audience that grasps the set of meanings associated with them--for example, the Christmas tree and carols linked with peace, love, and coming together. Jewish ritual, when it appears, puts into relief the Christianness of TV-land. Jewish difference makes apparent the unstated but presumed Christianity, and at the same time, it highlights the general absence of the Other. Infrequent enough to warrant attention, these televised moments of Judaism and Jewishness raise complex questions about the nature of the American multiculture, and the negotiation of ethnic, national, and religious identities, through the prism of Jewish exclusion and belonging. The last two decades of the twentieth century brought greater diversity to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in American Jewish Literature Penn State University Press

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
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Copyright © Penn State University Press
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1948-5077
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Abstract

Kaddish-- The Final Frontier Sara R. Horowitz The depiction of Jewish ritual on American television stands out from ordinary TV fare. Not surprisingly, since its early popularization the culture of television in America has been vaguely Christian. Vaguely, because television programs depict a fairly secularized culture, with religion often left unstated and unobtrusive; Christian, because the dominant culture in America is Christian, and thus need not be specified. Religious markers, when they appear in the course of regular television series, are Christian, and their use implies the presumption of an audience that grasps the set of meanings associated with them--for example, the Christmas tree and carols linked with peace, love, and coming together. Jewish ritual, when it appears, puts into relief the Christianness of TV-land. Jewish difference makes apparent the unstated but presumed Christianity, and at the same time, it highlights the general absence of the Other. Infrequent enough to warrant attention, these televised moments of Judaism and Jewishness raise complex questions about the nature of the American multiculture, and the negotiation of ethnic, national, and religious identities, through the prism of Jewish exclusion and belonging. The last two decades of the twentieth century brought greater diversity to

Journal

Studies in American Jewish LiteraturePenn State University Press

Published: Nov 7, 2010

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