Charles Dickens’s Anti-Semitism, His Philo-Semitism, and His Enduring Prejudice

In Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens created the notoriously Jewish gangster Fagin, who lured impoverished Gentile children into lives of crime. Fagin, writes Adam Roberts, was “one of the most famous villains in English literature” and the product of “a congeries of virulently anti-Semitic stereotypes and libels.” Later, as Roberts explains, an encounter with a Jewish family led Dickens to regret his choices. In an attempt at “repentance,” the great English author created another Jewish character—less famous, but far more compelling—in his last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend. This Jew, Mr. Riah, works for an unscrupulous banker named Fascination Fledgeby:

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Read more at Adam’s Notebook

More about: Anti-Semitism, Charles Dickens, Jews in literature

Is American Jewish Liberalism Dying?

June 30 2022

In the 1930s, a Republic Jewish judge, observing his coreligionists’ commitment to the Democratic party, quipped, in Yiddish, that Jews have three velt (worlds): di velt (this world), yene velt (the next world), and Roosevelt. Since then, Jewish devotion has attenuated somewhat, although Jews still overwhelming lean Democratic. Most American Jews, however, are unfamiliar with the terms “this world” or “the next world” in any language. Carefully examining a wealth of statistical data, Samuel J. Abrams and Jack Wertheimer argue that the sort of robust Jewish liberalism that characterized U.S. Jewry a few decades ago is in steep decline. Jews, they explain, are undergoing their own version of what political scientists call the “great sort,” whereby politics, religion, and place of residence increasingly align:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Liberalism, U.S. Politics