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The real meaning of our work: religion in Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs 1880-1939

The real meaning of our work: religion in Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs 1880-1939
The real meaning of our work: religion in Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs 1880-1939
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, philanthropists in Britain created a large number of clubs for young people. Whilst many of these were connected with churches, British Jewry founded a number of their own clubs for young Jewish men and women. These clubs were run in the East End of London and other urban centres with high numbers of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe such as Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The club managers were established Jews who lived in wealthier areas of the cities who sought to pass on positive British attributes to the immigrant population. In addition to secular activities such as sports, the clubs used religion as a way to encourage young immigrants to adapt to religious life in England, a neglected aspect of their work.

This thesis explores the inclusion of a religious element within these clubs, examining the period from the beginning of the clubs existence in the 1880s, responding to the influx of Eastern European immigrants arriving in the UK, until the outbreak of the Second World War when the focus of Anglo-Jewish philanthropy shifted from domestic concerns to those within Europe and on combating anti-Semitism. This thesis explores how religion promoted an ideal of national identity, specifically designed for working class immigrant Jews, as well as the ways in which religion promoted gender identities which were designed to aid integration into British society. The first two chapters analyse Orthodox Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs. As the majority of clubs fall into these categories these chapters will look at these groups as providing normative experiences. The third chapter will look at uniformed groups and explore the extent to which these groups provided a ‘uniformed’ experience not only in relation to outward appearance but also in terms of gendered religion. The final chapter will examine Liberal Jewish clubs, the major alternative to the other organisations explored. These were attacked by those within the Orthodox mainstream due to their religious affiliation and this thesis will discuss the ways in which this criticism was heightened in response to deviations from gender norms. This thesis therefore demonstrates the centrality of gender norms in religious programming for young people.
Holdorph, Anne Louise
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Holdorph, Anne Louise
2c6f3377-71e3-4495-b7be-428876886e16
Kushner, Antony
958c42e3-4290-4cc4-9d7e-85c1cdff143b

Holdorph, Anne Louise (2014) The real meaning of our work: religion in Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs 1880-1939. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 260pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, philanthropists in Britain created a large number of clubs for young people. Whilst many of these were connected with churches, British Jewry founded a number of their own clubs for young Jewish men and women. These clubs were run in the East End of London and other urban centres with high numbers of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe such as Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The club managers were established Jews who lived in wealthier areas of the cities who sought to pass on positive British attributes to the immigrant population. In addition to secular activities such as sports, the clubs used religion as a way to encourage young immigrants to adapt to religious life in England, a neglected aspect of their work.

This thesis explores the inclusion of a religious element within these clubs, examining the period from the beginning of the clubs existence in the 1880s, responding to the influx of Eastern European immigrants arriving in the UK, until the outbreak of the Second World War when the focus of Anglo-Jewish philanthropy shifted from domestic concerns to those within Europe and on combating anti-Semitism. This thesis explores how religion promoted an ideal of national identity, specifically designed for working class immigrant Jews, as well as the ways in which religion promoted gender identities which were designed to aid integration into British society. The first two chapters analyse Orthodox Jewish boys’ and girls’ clubs. As the majority of clubs fall into these categories these chapters will look at these groups as providing normative experiences. The third chapter will look at uniformed groups and explore the extent to which these groups provided a ‘uniformed’ experience not only in relation to outward appearance but also in terms of gendered religion. The final chapter will examine Liberal Jewish clubs, the major alternative to the other organisations explored. These were attacked by those within the Orthodox mainstream due to their religious affiliation and this thesis will discuss the ways in which this criticism was heightened in response to deviations from gender norms. This thesis therefore demonstrates the centrality of gender norms in religious programming for young people.

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More information

Published date: September 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, History

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377486
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377486
PURE UUID: 57ae38f3-b537-4405-8a96-ee8dcf784b0c

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Date deposited: 09 Jul 2015 12:01
Last modified: 26 Jul 2018 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Anne Louise Holdorph
Thesis advisor: Antony Kushner

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