Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

Basic HTML Version

ers, working girls of the shirtwaist factories, labor unions and
family life—as these Jews, coming for the most par t out of very
traditional backgrounds, coped with social, political and eco­
nomic upheavals of the day.
T he final chapter, “Jewish Women Today,” critiques the
literary stereotypes of the Jewish mother and the Jewish Ameri­
can princess, contrasting these with sociological data which finds
in the affirmative for the Jewish mothering experience. Jewish
women not only kept family together and cultural values intact
throughout a period of instability, bu t they were also in great
measure responsible for the extraordinary development, produc­
tiveness and achievement of the very males who are depicted as
suffering from Jewish female tendencies such as over-mothering.
T he focus shifts from chapter to chapter—from historical-
factual to sociological and literary analysis. T he thread tha t
binds the individual chapters into a cohesive whole is the fem­
inist perspective. All three authors have been involved in the
women’s movement, and thus this book is written with feminist
insights richly interspersed throughout. But it is not mere
rhetoric; the book is nicely researched, although regrettably,
it was not footnoted—not even the quotes!
Rudolf Glanz, a most prolific octogenarian, has added two
more volumes to his already extensive and variegated b ib li­
T h e Jew ish W om an in Am er ica : T w o Fema le G enera ­
tion s 1820-1929
(New York, Ktav, 1976). An expert on ethnic
immigration, Glanz now focuses on the Jewish woman as im­
migrant. In Volume I, he describes the Russian immigration—
1881-1924; in Volume II, the German immigration—1815-1880.
T he Russian immigration was certainly the most colorful
and vibrant period of American Jewish imm igration history;
and Jewish women played no small part in shaping the character
of American Jewish life of the twentieth century. Glanz describes
the emergence of a whole new class of imm igrant—the un ­
married working woman. He underscores her role in the rise of
labor unions and her participation in the women’s rights
There is a striking contrast between the economic and social
experience of the German-Jewish immigrant woman, who moved
very rapidly into a settled middle class existence, and the Rus­