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The Ghetto - Louis Wirth, 1928 - Chap XI, The Jewish ghettos of Chicago

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The Jewish ghetto of Chicago is home to a way of life that is markedly different from those of surrounding communities. The inhabitants of the ghetto carry on their day to day activities much in the same way that they did in Europe for hundreds of years. In Chicago, as in other major cities across the U.S, the Jewish ghetto is home to values and traditions that are passed on through the generations, creating a solid feeling of community and preserving an ancient way of life.

[...] The Jews living in the ghetto are trapped within it, largely ignorant of the events of the rest of Chicago and the U.S, and concern themselves only with their own affairs. The center of life in the Jewish ghetto is the synagogue, which wields both religious and political influence. The synagogue is the main meeting point of Jews and serves as a source of friendship and support. According to Chicago Ghetto,? ?through the synagogue the members come into touch with the important events of concern to them, and the synagogue still remains the most effective organ of approach to the Jewish community? (208). [...]

[...] The experiences of the inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto are limited to the ghetto and they are unable to break free of the hold of the synagogue to explore the world outside. The iron laws of the synagogue prevent congregation members to see a world outside of the narrow ghetto: until the Jew gets out of the ghetto does he really live a full life? (226). The ghetto is largely exclusive and resists any interaction with outside forces, is the product of sectarianism and isolation, of prejudices and taboos? (226). [...]

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