Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 54–71 | Cite as

The jewish prince: Some continuities in traditional and contemporary jewish life

  • Zen A Smith Blau


Black Male Jewish Community Accessible Route Black Female Contemporary JEWRY 
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  1. 1.
    For example, see Marshall Sklare’s work, especially his edited volume,The Jews Social Patterns of an American Group Glencoe, Ill The Free Press, 1958; Calvin Goldscheider and Sidney Goldstein, “Generational Changes in Jewish Family Structure,”Journal of Marriage Family, Vol. XXIX (1967), 267–276, and Peter Rose,The Ghetto and Beyond Essays on Jewish Life in America New York Random House, 1969Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W I Thomas undertook but never completed a study of the “Bintel Brief,” a regular feature inthe Jewish Daily Forward An analyysiis of his data was prepared and published by Marvin Bressler, “Selected Family Patterns” in W I Thomas’ unfinished study of the “Bintel Brief,”American Sociological Review, XVII (1952) p 563–571Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Marx, Einstein, Freud, and Durkheim each created new paradigms that substantially influenced the thought and substance of the contemporary world, each, in greater or lesser degree, had distanced himself from the religious and communal life of his origin group, although only Marx evidenced the antipathy that, incidentally, legitimated the strain of left-wing anti-Semitism that periodically surfaces in Europe and AmericaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    For example, I do not recall any ascerbic commentary on the common practice of Jewish male intellectuals to assume non-Jewish names, presumably to camouflage their membership in radical party organizations But they retained these names and passed them on to their children, one symbol of their effort to distance themselves from, if not outright rejection of, their Jewish identityGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    In a similar vein, Jules Zagger, in his presidential address to the Mid-Continental American Studies Association in 1974, writes, “the Jewish son in literature, turning his back on his mother, has come to symbolize the rejection of a total cluster of religious and cultural values rooted in the European experience and is a necessary ntual of the Americanization process [among American Jewish writers]”Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zena Smith Blau,Social Structure, Socialization and Intellectual Competence A Study of Black and White Mothers and their Children (forthcoming) The study is based on interviews with 523 White and 549 Black mothers, and on IQ and achievement scores of all fifth and sixth grade children in selected schools in the Chicago metropolitan area in 1968 The sample was composed of mothers and children from various SES levels and religious backgrounds, including 109 cases of Jewish children—54 boys and 55 girls Other religious groupings were Baptist/other Fundamentalists, (431), Methodist/Lutheran (197), High Protestant-Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Congregational (133), Catholic (132), and Nondenominational, principally Unitarian and nonrehgious (84) Contingency tables, correlation, analyses of variance and co-variance, and multiple regression were used at various stages of the analysis The net effects of religious background reported in the text are those having significant F’s when the following variables are controlled SES, mean demographic origins of parents, mean origin family size, mother’s White exposure score (for Blacks only), mother’s religion and denomination, mother’s religiosity, number of children, mother’s marital status, duration of mother’s labor force participation, mother’s valuation of education, mother’s investment of time and resources in child, and mother’s and father’s belief in and use of aversive controls or discipline Child’s IQ score was added to the equation when children’s achievement scores were regressed on the above set of variables The races were first analyzed separately and then combined with race of child included in the full equation In the final stages of the multivariate analyses, test scores of the four race-sex groups were regressed on the full battery of variablesGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    On IQ, Jewish girls and boys rank second (after children from a nondenominational background), on achievement Jewish boys also rank second)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    White High Protestants and nondenominational/nonreligious parents, along with Jews, have the highest occupational status, the highest educational attainment, and the highest middle-class exposure scores in the sampleGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jewish daughtersinstead are encouraged tomarry successful sons of other Jewish parents The relative deprivation of encouragement for personal accomplishment to which Jewish girls are subject could be expected to produce higher rates of ambivalence among them or, to use Matina Homer’s concept, “the motive to avoid success,” than among girls from similarly situated groups from other religious backgrounds It would be worthwhile to test this hypothesisGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    World Revolution and Family Patterns Glencoe, Ill The Free Press, 1963Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Digby Baltzell,The Protestant Establishment Aristocracy and Caste in America New York Random House, 1964Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    It is of some interest that, when the IQ scores of children from each religious group are separately regressed on the full model, only 2 variables enter the Black Catholic equation—mother’s exposure to Whites (Beta = 50) and mothers’ religiosity (Beta = − 45) Since this is the only group in which mothers’ exposure to Whites even enters the prediction equation, it suggests that Black Catholic mothers who, being a deviant minority, have opportunities for association with Whites, are more prone to adopt the latter as their reference group By adopting the values and strategies of White associates they enhance the early intellectual development of their sons, in particular, whose average IQ score is higher than any other group of Black boys except those from a nondenominational background The latter, incidentally, actually have the same mean IQ score as Jewish childrenGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    With respect toachievement scores, the same pattern of sex differences is observed, except in two groups Jewish boys exhibit slightly higher scores than Jewish girls, while nondenominational boys and girls have identical scoresGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zen A Smith Blau
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HoustonHouston

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