Post-Jewish Poland

Dana Goldstein linked the other day, to a fascinating New York Times article about a revival of interest in judaica in today's more-or-less judenrein Poland. She analogizes this to:

[H]ow the United States has appropriated a certain vision of Native American culture. We name our sports teams after tribes and turn Native people into face-painted mascots. We consecrate a holiday (Thanksgiving) that ignores most historical evidence to mythologize non-coercive friendship between European settlers and Native Americans. In the town where I grew up, where the local Sint Sinck tribe was deplaced by white settlers into the Connecticut River valley, a middle class neighborhood of Cape Cods is referred to as "Indian Village," with street names such as "Mohawk," "Ramapo," and "Mohegan."



There is a certain similarity here, but the people the NYT talks about seem to have a level of sincere interest in Ashkenazi Jewish culture that's substantially deeper than what's implied in the United States' appropriation of Native American place names. After all, there not only used to be a lot of Jewish people in Poland (10 percent) but they were a substantial and integral element of the cultural, political, and economic life of the country even if they were never fully integrated or accepted.