& Final Essay
The Jew and the City
HIST 286/JWST 275
These extra credit assignments can be turned in at any point during the semester.
Extra Credit Assignment #1:
Prepare a photo essay of 10 to 20 annotated photographs to demonstrate what makes a Jewish cemetery "Jewish." In other words, try to illustrate the content and meaning of the social message(s) being presented in a Jewish cemetery. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer for this assignment, and there are many ways to approach it. You might want to explore the layout or location of a cemetery or the architectural features of the graves rather than the formal rules of Jewish ritual. You might also ask yourself whether there is a difference between cemeteries sponsored by the various Jewish "denominations", as there certainly are between cemeteries sponsored by Catholic and Protestant denominations. Feel free to include a limited number of photos from non-Jewish cemeteries if these help to illustrate what makes the Jewish cemetery "different." (Note: there is a Jewish cemetery not far from campus on Adelphi Road near New Hampshire, but there are many others around this area and throughout the country. There are also many documented on line, but be careful of using these if you cannot easily access the overall architectural features of the place.)
Extra Credit Assignment #2:
View the two films (videos) based on novellas by Abraham Cahan, "Hester Street" and "The Imported Bridegroom" (see assignment for Oct. 16). In a paper of approximately three pages, compare the view of the Jews' American experience in these films with the presentation in Cahan's original novels. Ask yourself what are the sources of tension between Jewishness and Americanization, and how the author/director imagined a resolution of these issues. You might want to consider issues of gender in your analysis. End your paper by considering what factors led the more recent story tellers to modify their source.
Extra Credit Assignment #3:
View the current exhibit at the National Building Museum entitled "Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community" and write a review of approximately three pages. The review should focus especially on questions of location (where did Jews choose to live? and why?) and urban integration vs isolation. Try to decide whether you feel the exhibit designers did a good job, and how you might have done it differently. Your paper should be accompanied by a map of the DC area with geographic regions of Jewish settlement clearly marked.
Extra Credit Assignment #4:
Identify an area in the greater Washington DC or Baltimore area that you believe is especially "Jewish". Using a combination of your own photographs, statistical information, and maps preent an illustrated essay that explains what makes the area "Jewish" in your opinion and decides whether that view of the area is in fact an accurate representation of its population and cultural life.