“Letters to the Editor and the Construction of the Jewish-American Community in Early 20th Century New York”

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Abstract

The “Bintel Brief” was a part of the Jewish Daily Forward, a Yiddish-language daily newspaper founded in 1897 and run by Abraham Cahan. The “Bintel Brief” (literally, “a bundle of letters”) was a forum where people could write for advice, to express an opinion, or simply to tell their (often tragic) experiences. The Editor would respond, offering counsel, practical advice, sympathy, etc. Devoted to workers rights, trade unionism, and democratic socialism, The “Bintel Brief” provided practical advice and a sympathetic ear, but also an ideological framework for the experiences and problems of immigrants, giving these private experiences a public significance and meaning by inscribing them in a context, constructing the border constituting the community—one based not only on ethnicity, religion, class, etc., but on broader socialist values that stressed unity across these different categories. The “Bintel Brief” was especially important in mediating for women. Many of the letters are written by women looking for validation of their behavior, desires and aspiration in the new context. The Editor consistently insisted that their desire for equality and self-determination was central to belonging to their new community and publicly declaring these values to be community values. It was this ability to proclaim and endorse certain values and norms that allowed the “Bintel Brief” to help shape the identity of the immigrant community.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteLa Scrittura epistolare in europa dal Medioevo ai nostri giorni
Pagine447-460
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2010

Serie di pubblicazioni

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