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Our Jewish Neighbors

Getting Acquainted with Jewish Neighbors
Eakin
1944

I think we can include this in our geography material, even though Israel didn’t exist until 1948.  I am going to cut this book some slack given the time it was published.  The intent was to educate on Jewish culture and religion.  That said, how is this helpful for a contemporary collection?  My favorite of the contents:  “Why bother to get acquainted with Jews?”   This belongs in an archive, not in a public library.

Happy Hanukkah

Mary and Holly

0 Responses to Our Jewish Neighbors

  • This is just sick and sad. 1944??? Seems pretty insensitive to me considering the war and all.

  • Only get acquainted with the RIGHT kind of Jews. OY!

  • *engage sarcasm* Oh boy! Here my maternal great-grandparents were so afraid of persecution that they hid the fact they were Jewish from the rest of their community and practiced only in private – in their cellars, not to mention changing their last names at least four times if not more and lying to the census taker as to where they were really from – and yet here’s this wonderful book that could’ve let them know it was okay to be openly Jewish! *end sarcasm*

    Okay, I am trying to be forgiving. After all, back in that time period this was probably seen as a very controversial book. (Nevermind that Jesus Christ is Jewish too. He kept kosher, you wouldn’t catch him eating a bacon cheeseburger!) But the part of me that’s ticked off that part of my heritage had to be hidden for so long looks at this in disdain.

    All the same, while it doesn’t belong in a regular library, it does need to be saved somewhere so someday we might learn how NOT to act. History we forget is history we’re doomed to repeat!

  • Hmmm, “What Jews to get acquainted with?” In 1944 I guess it was the ones who were still alive.

  • This appears to be a pretty specialized book. It’s a guide for church school leaders. In 1944 this might have been very progressive. It’s shocking to us now, but at the time that’s the way people thought and spoke. That being said it should have been weeded from a public library loooooong ago and possibly never have been in a public library.

    • ‘Very progressive’ books should never be in a public library? That IS what you just said, isn’t it?

  • I just love this blog and the titles that make me go eeeeeek are my favourites – this is an eeeeeeker!

  • That there is a book for those who wanted to reach out, at that time, is progress. My mother remembers official “No Jews” signs for a beach in Windsor, Ontario when she was a child – late 30s early 40s. Not Germany, not the deep south, but a city in Canada.

    No, not for a public library, but as history, this is primary source material. As molkspa says.

  • I see this as neither sick nor sad. This book is intended for a specific target audience: Church School Leaders. It also has a specific purpose: educating the target audience about the culture and traditions of a segment of the population they might not ever have encountered before. It also is about how those school leaders can teach their students about Jews and it definitely aims towards educating them EXPERIENTIALLY (see the last entry on the table of contents “Getting Ready for a Visit”).

    Also remember that VERY FEW in the US knew about the Holocaust until months after the invasion of Europe in June 1944.

    Is it outdated and more fit for an archive (as Mary & Holly stated)? Yes. Is it something to be offended by? No.

    I AM curious about the entry “What Jews to get acquainted with.” Without reading more, it’s impossible to tell context. It could mean “a Rabbi can help you educate your kids about Judaism better than could Joe Jew on the street” or it could mean something offensive. Context is everything.

  • Who is this Joe Jew, and does he have a nice son?

  • Joanne: I heard his son is studying to be a doctor and attends shul every sabbath.

  • This is the same timeframe in which books were published as to how to be a good wife/woman. It’s part of history, good or bad, but advocating for removal from the public library? Chill out. The National Archives would have so many more things you could advocate burning.

  • I’m very tempted to read this. I work at a divinity school and our library has it, but it’s classified as a brittle book so I probably can’t check it out. But at least our library is an appropriate place for it!

  • Yes, much slack should be cut for this book. The author was the first female professor at Drew Theological Seminary (a school of the mainline / progressive United Methodist Church). Her bio says that she “was a pioneer in the field of multi-culturalism and the ministry of reconciliation at a time when anti-Semitism and racism were peaking.”
    http://depts.drew.edu/lib/archives/online_exhibits/eakin/index.html

  • We tend to forget that Antisemitism wasn’t frowned on until the early 1950s, so this book in not entirely out of place for the time.

    • It’s not even entirely out of place for our time. I know a number of people who could benefit from this sort of thing. It’s sad, but there are areas where people still think of Jews as fundamentally evil.

      • i find this wholly revolting, and amazing. on the other hand, when i was growing up my community was around 80% jewish, and christians baffled me.

  • Think about the film “Gentleman’s Agreement”, Antisemitism was very much a part of North American and European culture long before WWII and unfortunately even afterward. That people from other churches even wanted to know more about Judaism and their Jewish neighbors was a step in the right direction, if only a baby step.

  • Of course, this book still belongs more in a university library or an archive for research purposes, and not in a public library. This book is useful for researching the world of 1944, not Jewish culture!

  • Slight tangent, but does anyone know what’s up with all the double underlines under every first letter of the title in this and the Mexico book? Is this some archaic library ritual?

  • This book is just “nice” anti-semitism. It begins with the premise that Jews are not humans but mysterious others… others who in this case need to be converted.

    Blah!

  • OMG this book is not antisemitic. (Yes I know it isn’t without even being able to read it haha) In 1933 the author was on a committee sponsored by the American Jewish Committee to look at antisemitism (and presumably remove it) in Protestant Sunday school curriculum. The mainline Protestant churches are not now and were not in the 1940s about “converting” people who have no desire to be converted.

  • Not antisemitic. Interfaith literature always straddles a rather uncomfortable gap.