American Public Judaism (Archie Bunker Shabbat)

Archie Bunker Shabbt

Actually this little clip, which you can see here, is not all that funny. But it’s touching and interesting. From All in the Family, it is an early example of public American Judaism and its performance on mainstream media. In the 1970s somewhere in mythical Queens, the old Jews at the table are immigrants. Representing the future, the little girl is cute in a pushy sort of way. It’s her Judaism that will in some twenty years integrate with more ease and irony onto the American scene. It looks like women’s Judaism. For now, the Jewish pronunciation remains old ethnic Ashkenazi Hebrew. Archie mugs and looks uncomfortable. Look everyone, this is what Jews and their Judaism look like. The wonderful Jean Stapleton lights the Sabbath candles with dignity and grace.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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