Going Greek: Jewish College Fraternities in the United States, 1895-1945

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Wayne State University Press, 2003 - Education - 446 pages

Going Greek offers an unprecedented look at the relationship between American Jewish students and fraternity life during its heyday in the first half of the twentieth century. More than secret social clubs, fraternities and sororities profoundly shaped the lives of members long after they left college—often dictating choices in marriage as well as business alliances. Widely viewed as a key to success, membership in these self-governing, sectarian organizations was desirable but not easily accessible, especially to non-Protestants and nonwhites. In Going Greek Marianne Sanua examines the founding of Jewish fraternities in light of such topics as antisemitism, the unique challenges faced by Jewish students on campuses across the United States, responses to World War II, and questions pertaining to assimilation and/or identity reinforcement.

The book covers a vast array of information, from the many famous people who belonged to Jewish fraternities to the songs they sang. Snobbery within the fraternities—what behavior constituted the "proper image" for an American Jew—comes up for discussion, but so does the increasing awareness of Jewish students toward issues of social justice.

For several generations of leaders in the national Jewish community, fraternities were central to their lives. Going Greek thus provides historians and biographers with a window onto an important aspect of American Jewish cultural experience.


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The Origins of Jewish Fraternities
Oh Yes That Nonsectarian Jewish Fraternity The Search for Identity 18951906
Great Things on a Great Scale Expansion and Opposition 19091919
The Golden Age College Fraternities in the Roaring Twenties
A Treacherous Alma Mater Facing College Antisemitism
What Have I Done? IntraJewish Hostility and th Internalization of Antisemitism
The Idea of Quitting Is Abborrent Challenges during the Great Depression
Fighting Back and Keeping Up Standards
Chapter Rolls of the National Jewish College Fraternities and Sororities to 1968
Directory of Jewish Fraternity and Sorority Chapters at Selected Colleges and Universities
Some Distinguished Alumni
Songs of the Jewish Fraternities and Sororities c 1920s1950s

In the Shadow of Hitler Social Life Snobbery and Jewish Identity
World War II and the Beginning of the End for the Jewish Fraternity System

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Page 6 - The world stands out on either side No wider than the heart is wide; Above the world is stretched the sky, No higher than the soul is high. The heart can push the sea and land Farther away on either hand; The soul can split the sky in two, And let the face of God shine through. But East and West will pinch the heart That cannot keep them pushed apart; And he whose soul is flat — the sky Will cave in on him by and by.
Page 6 - Jesus rose against Menelaus, who was appointed after him, the populace was divided between the two; the Tobiads being on the side of Menelaus, while the majority of the people supported Jason; and being hard pressed by him, Menelaus and the Tobiads withdrew, and going to Antiochus informed him that they wished to abandon their country's laws and the way of life prescribed by these, and to follow the king's law and adopt the Greek way of life.
Page 6 - Greek way of life. Accordingly, they petitioned him to permit them to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem. And when he had granted this, they also concealed the circumcision of their private parts in order to be Greeks even when unclothed, and giving up whatever other national customs they had, they imitated the practices of foreign nations.

About the author (2003)

Marianne Sanua is an assistant professor in the Holocaust and Judaic Studies Program and the Department of History at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

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