Jewish Stereotypes or Misunderstood Cultural Virtues
11 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 27 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 23, 2012
If there is one stereotype that has followed the Jews throughout history it is the notion that they stick together. A shallow look into their past will support this claim. However, this study will put forth evidence from the late 17th century that does not entirely agree with this assumption. In fact, while there is support to the claim that Jews genially band together they have encountered a range of conditions throughout their history that is at odds with this stereotypical interpretation. Governments during this period in question oppressively regulated Jewish behavior and thereby contributed to the overall increase or decrease in their cohesiveness. In addition, there were internal factors, such as community pressure, cultural orientation and religious beliefs that influenced Jewish unity, as well as subjected them to collective discord. European governments found it difficult to grant Jews citizenship status often because they feared that the deep rooted prejudices of their subjects would threaten their sovereignty. It is out of this political milieu that this analysis will attempt to illuminate both the factors that drove Jews to band together and the circumstances that split them apart.
Keywords: Jews, Eastern Europe, stereotype, Jewish, government, seventeenth century, oppression
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