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Passing For Jewish: How Jews Are Represented In Literature And Life

Headshot of Judith Ruderman
Courtesy of Judith Ruderman

What does it mean to be Jewish in America? For some it is the observance of particular high holy days, while for others it is much more of a cultural identity than a religious one.

Scholar and writer Judith Ruderman has spent a lot of time thinking about this question, and in her new book she turns to literature for an answer. Ruderman interrogates the strategies Jews have used throughout history to “pass.” From exploring the role of nose jobs and name changes to the battle of assimilation versus cultural appropriation, she reveals the complexity of Jewish American identity at a time when attacks against Jews are on the rise. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ruderman, former vice provost and adjunct professor at Duke University, about the research behind “Passing Fancies In Jewish American Literature And Culture” (Indiana University Press/2019).

Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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