| 133 societies such as Ireland and Quebec, where conservative clergy saw the Jewish peddlers as modernizing and materialistic threats to austere traditional ways of life. Everywhere, settled shopkeepers (except for those who were Jewish former peddlers themselves) looked upon the peddlers as interlopers and illegitimate competitors. Finally, while peddling helped Jews everywhere integrate into their new host societies, it was in the United States where the process of integration was brought to its fullest, as witnessed by the number of ex-peddlers who went on to hold political office and play leading roles in civic affairs. There are some minor quibbles one might make. Diner asserts, for example, that "Jewish historians" have wrongly downplayed the economic impetus behind the mass migration and "have long emphasized how . . . Jews migrated because of the violence directed at them in the places where they lived and suffered." (21) But the only examples she cites for this "conventional thinking" are Emma Lazarus and Martin Buber. Indeed, a footnote points to the work of Simon Kuznets, who forty years ago debunked the idea that antisemitic violence was the main spur to migration. Quibbles aside, Roads Taken masterfully builds the big story
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 7, 2015
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