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    Israel Zangwill

    Jew Score:
    11

    I5

    O3

    K3
    February 14, 1864 – August 1, 1926

    "America is a meltiing pot." It's an adage you hear often, and not just in high school history class.

    The term "melting pot" was coined by Israel Zangwill, not an American himself, but a Brit. It comes from his play about ethnic tensions in America early in the 20th century, titled... "The Melting Pot".

    Zangwill's "melting pot" was two-fold, as it remains to this day. 1: America takes all kinds. 2: Soon enough, their individual differences... melt away, and they become simply Americans.

    On one hand, that is absolutely terrific. America does offer that rare opportunity to shed away the centuries of history and be reborn anew without baggage. It usually takes a generation. On the other hand... it can't help but give us pause. We can't forget those who came before us. We might be American now, but our ancestors — wherever they came from — went through hatred and hazing, persecution and pogroms. That must be remembered.

    According to a scholar, Zangwill wrote as "a Jew who no longer wanted to be a Jew. His real hope was for a world in which the entire lexicon of racial and religious difference is thrown away."

    Oh, if only Zangwill's ideals had a stronger foothold in reality! As much as America tries to melt these differences away, they still bubble up to the surface with extreme potency. As for the rest of the world? It's never happening.

    So much for the melting pot.

    Verdict: Jew.

    June 3, 2024

    See Also

    Theodor Herzl

    Maurice de Hirsch

    Josef Popper-Lynkeus

    Isaac Raboy

    Isaac Steinberg
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2024.