The Beth Haskalah study group for November 13th will be on the advice column from the Forward, A Bintel Brief. This column features letters from immigrants and greenhorns asking advice on their new American lives.
A Bintel Brief was a very popular feature of the Forward, but more importantly, it had a unique part to play in the lives of Jewish immigrants to America. New immigrants were faced with choices they never had faced in Europe. Many American ways were so foreign and troubling to them, and these changes were especially severe as they saw the effect on their children.
A Bintel Brief was a way to ask your own heartfelt questions but also see what questions other immigrants were asking. I can only image the over-the-fence, out-the-open-window conversations these letters generated.
A fascinating aspect for us in Society for Humanistic Judaism is the role that this column played in reflecting and forming new ideas. This allowed the immigrants to reexamine their values and basic operating world views they had had in Europe. This column helped many immigrants put aside the European traditional ghetto mentality and accept a new secular world with many new opportunities and values.
As usual it will be at the Summit at 7 pm.
Shalom, Barry Swan
madrikh, Beth Haskalah