Date of Award

5-20-2012

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Judaic Studies

First Advisor

Shalom Staub

Language

English

Abstract

Around 1900 Syrian Jews immigrated to the Lower East Side to create new economic opportunities. Today they live in Brooklyn in an established ethnic and religious enclave from the surrounding American and American Jewish community. They have maintained their unique identity through separate institutions, which have borrowed institutional models and programming from the larger American Jewish community. The Syrian American Jewish population has been able to adjust these models to foster a strong, separate Syrian American Jewish community.

Far away from Brooklyn, the Iranian American Jewish community has created their own separate enclave in Los Angeles. After the formation of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979, many chose or were forced to leave Iran. They quickly established a separate community from the greater American and American Jewish community. Similar to the Syrian American Jewish community, they too have borrowed American Jewish programming models in an attempt to preserve their identity. Unlike in the Syrian American Jewish community, the Iranian American Jewish population is struggling to find a balance between preserving the old customs from Iran and the rapid Americanization among the youth.

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