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LimmudFest New Orleans is a weekend festival of Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality featuring 70+ sessions from local, regional and national presenters. It is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything and anything Jewish, the entire community is enriched.

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Sunday, March 19 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Israel Zangwill's *The Melting-Pot* (1908): The Play that Tried to Change History

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The term "the melting pot" has been a controversial description of America's immigrant culture for more than a century, often associated with a supposed ideal of assimilation that has been both praised and criticized since it first appeared in a play by the Jewish writer Israel Zangwill. Jewish commentators in particular saw in *The Melting-Pot* (1908) both an unfortunate advocacy of intermarriage and the surprising elevation of an American ideal in a work by a leading Jewish nationalist.  This illustrated talk examines the play itself, its historical context, and the controversies it evoked to get a greater understanding of Zangwill’s goals in promoting America as a welcoming home for the Jews of Europe.  It also considers why, although communal leaders balked at the play’s content, Jewish immigrant audiences flocked to see the play and appreciated its depiction of their lives and their new home.

avatar for Meri-Jane Rochelson

Meri-Jane Rochelson

Meri-Jane Rochelson is Professor Emerita of English at Florida International University, affiliated with FIU’s programs in Jewish Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. She is the author of A Jew in the Public Arena: The Career of Israel Zangwill (2008), and has published editions... Read More →

Sunday March 19, 2023 9:00am - 10:00am CDT
JCC 208/209