"“Under those apple trees”: Jewish youth culture, ideology, and education in the largest American Zionist youth movement of the 1960s and 1970s"

Description
"Combining oral history and archival research, this thesis studies the cultural and political history of Young Judaea, what was believed to be the largest American Zionist youth movement in the 1960s and 1970s. My work interrogates how changing youth culture in the United States, Israel, and Palestine shaped American Jewish youth identity, and how American Jewish youth perceived of Palestinian and non-Ashkenazi Jewish communities during this era. My work finds in Young Judaea was a community of Jewish American youth fiercely committed to their Jewish identity, while consumed with fear for the future of their community amidst threats of assimilation in the diaspora. I found a movement run by youth for youth, where peer leaders set the agenda and created Jewish community in after-school, summer, and year-long spaces. It was in these spaces that American Zionism reigned large, permeating all social and educational programming and representing Jewishness as a national, cultural, and ethnic affiliation, where the Ashkenazi Israeli Jew represented the ideal. Ultimately, youth negotiated their Americanness with their Jewishness, at the intersection of leftism, Zionism, ethnocentrism, Orientalism, and American Jewish politics. At its core, this thesis follows one generation of postwar American Jewish youth through the search for belonging that defined both American youth generally and Jews specifically. At its core, it is a coming-of-age story of everyday American Jewish youth trying to find their place and identity in a changing world. "

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