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Language in Time of Revolution$
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Benjamin Harshav

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079588

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079588.001.0001

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(p.40) Eight Assimilation
Language in Time of Revolution

Benjamin Harshav

University of California Press

This chapter states that in the Diaspora today, when Jews are integrated into the polysystem of the general society, Jewish institutions are mostly reduced to purely “Jewish” issues. The individual divides his life between such Jewish institutions and participation in the institutions of the general society. Hence the word “assimilation”—like its counterpart, “secularism”—also cannot be accepted literally. For, in important respects, all Jews are assimilated into general modern culture. The intrinsic directions of the revolution aimed at creating a Jewish equivalent to that culture—an equivalent freed of the “obligation of Jewishness.” Rachel Katznelson expressed it when she wrote that by coming to Eretz-Israel, they wanted to liberate themselves from nationalism as an idee fixe, in Diaspora, nationalism hindered in living.

Keywords:   Diaspora, Jews, polysystem, assimilation, secularism, culture, Jewishness, Rachel Katznelson, nationalism

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