ERIC Number: ED244029
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec-6
Reference Count: 0
Too-Comfortable Strangers: Cultural Association among the Sephardim of Washington, D.C.
Fredman, Ruth Gruber
The power of the symbol "Sephardic" to foster community association is extremely problematical in the Washington, D.C., context. Washington's Sephardic population is heterogeneous with respect to generation, self-definition, and culture. Complicating the situation is the nature of Washington itself, which in turn is inextricably linked to the selected Sephardic population that is drawn to the region. Washington attracts people who are willing to uproot themselves from established communities to pursue economic gain, and whose primary loyalty, therefore, is to the institution and to professional networks, not to the locale. Washington is a city of transients, is highly cosmopolitan, and has residence patterns based on class rather than ethnicity. Thus, ethnic identity is elective rather than necessary. Furthermore, cosmopolitan Sephardim can easily find compatible associates through the city's numerous cultural, social, and occupational societies. If one is willing to accept community as an abstract concept indicating a pride in a glorious, mostly unknown history and culture, and a tradition of warmth and hospitality, then there is a Sephardic community in Washington. Going beyong this, however, in a city like Washington, where each step to create community is a rational purposeful act, antithetical to the end that is desired, most Sephardim abandon the effort. For them, Sephardic warmth must rest in their cherished and idealized past and they must continue their accommodation to American life on the intimate as well as the public level. (CMG)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: District of Columbia
Note: Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association meeting (Washington, D.C., December 6, 1982); Some sections of this paper have light print.