10: Review excerpt, "Notes and Comments," The Israelite, 1896.
The Israelite was an English-language Jewish newspaper founded in Chicago in 1854. It was the leading organ for Reform Judaism in America in the early twentieth century.
Suggested Activity: Have your students read the text and discuss the following questions: what praise does the reviewer have for Cahan’s work, and what concerns? Are these artistic criticisms, criticisms emanating from a concern about the image of Jews in the public sphere, or both? Why do you think the author may have these concerns? Do writers have a responsibility to think about the social impact of their writing, beyond artistic and aesthetic concerns? If so, do you think Cahan’s portrayal was irresponsibly unflattering? What "favorable part" of the lives of immigrant Jews might Cahan have left out of his book?
Source: “Notes and Comments,” The Israelite (Chicago: July 30, 1896).