Harmony and Dissonance: Voices of Jewish Identity in Detroit, 1914-1967 by Sidney Bolkovsky


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Description

Analyzing one of the most vital and significant Jewish populations in the United States, Harmony and Dissonance chronicles the intellectual, cultural, and social history of the Jews of Detroit from 1914 to 1967. Sidney Bolkosky has drawn upon resources from religious and secular Jewish institutions in Detroit and supplemented them with information and interpretations from numerous oral testimonies to place this material in the context of the city of Detroit and its unique economic and social history. Thus the book includes discussions of the effects of Detroit events on the Jewish
population, from Henry Ford's promise of a five dollar per day wage to the Detroit riots of 1943 and 1967. The author contends that the peculiar history of Detroit plays a determining role in the history of its Jews.

Organized chronologically, Harmony and Dissonance examines the historically shifting dynamics among Jewish groups and individuals, addressing such controversial topics as assimilation, intermarriage, religious conflicts, anti-Semitism, and East European versus German Jewish identities. In pursuing the central thesis of the problematic search for Jewish identity, which runs throughout the book and ties the work together, the author has also explored the multifaceted nature of the Jewish population of Detroit, its
landsmanshaften, German Jews, "establishment" organizations and their antagonists, cultural forces, and numerous Yiddish groups. This focus on identity is sharpened as the author perceives two events increasingly directing Jewish life and thought--the Holocaust and its aftermath and the founding of the state of Israel. How those
events influenced the attitudes and behavior of Detroit's Jews contributes to what one Detroit patriarch called "the Detroit difference."

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