Bringing Zion Home

Bringing Zion Home

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Demonstrates how American Jews used culturea€”art, dance, music, fashion, literaturea€”to win the hearts and minds of postwar Americans to the cause of Israel. Bringing Zion Home examines the role of culture in the establishment of the a€œspecial relationshipa€ between the United States and Israel in the immediate postwar decades. Many American Jews first encountered Israel through their roles as tastemakers, consumers, and cultural impresariosa€”that is, by writing and reading about Israel; dancing Israeli folk dances; promoting and purchasing Israeli goods; and presenting Israeli art and music. It was precisely by means of these cultural practices, argues Emily Alice Katz, that American Jews insisted on Israela€™s a€œnaturala€ place in American culture, a phenomenon that continues to shape Americaa€™s relationship with Israel today. Katz shows that American Jewsa€™ promotion and consumption of Israel in the cultural realm was bound up with multiple agendas, including the quest for Jewish authenticity in a postimmigrant milieu and the desire of upwardly mobile Jews to polish their status in American society. And, crucially, as influential cultural and political elites positioned a€œculturea€ as both an engine of American dominance and as a purveyor of peace in the Cold War, many of Israela€™s American Jewish impresarios proclaimed publicly that cultural patronage of and exchange with Israel advanced Americaa€™s interests in the Middle East and helped spread the a€œAmerican waya€ in the postwar world. Bringing Zion Home is the first book to shine a light squarely upon the role and importance of Israel in the arts, popular culture, and material culture of postwar America.One dress featured in the 1949 fashion show, for example, was decorated with handmade Yemenite embroidery ... the 1949 script touted the coata#39;s similara€ity to the caftans of Bukharian rabbis while noting its a€œfashionable shoulder line.

Title:Bringing Zion Home
Author:Emily Alice Katz
Publisher:SUNY Press - 2015-01-08


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