Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jews and Indians....

In my first Ruthless Cosmopolitan column, I wrote about the analogies I find between the "virtually Jewish" world and the "imaginary wild west", and I've written and spoken about this in greater depth at various conferences -- you can see a paper I prepared on it by clicking here.

One of these conferences was the Conference on Modern Jewish Culture held in Wroclaw, Poland, in June. One of the organizers, Marcin Wodzinski, from the University of Wroclaw, has now sent me information he turned up showing some perceived analogies dating back to the early 19th century.

He writes:

In 1824 in the first Jewish periodical in Eastern Europe "Beobachter an der Weichsel/dostrzegacz Nadwislanski", the editor Entoni Eisenbaum published an article entitled "Similaries of the religious rituals of the Inidians of North America and the Jews" (1824 No 23, pp. 182-184 and No 24, pp. 190-192). He claims that Indians and Jews are very similar. Both tribes pray to one God only, his name is Jehva for Jews and Joheva for Indians, they hate white people, consider themselves to be the chosen nation, they are divided into tribes ("generations"), have similar calendar, have one festive day a week, their dialect is similar to Hebrew, they have prophets and archpriest, consider some animals unclean, keep fast before war expeditions, and keep levirate.


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