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"Jewish existence is often said to be marked by two contradictory perils: hatred and acceptance. Reflecting on the historical past, I note that, at its extreme, hatred led to mass extermination (the Holocaust), whereas acceptance, ironically, had the potential to result in self- attrition through the massive loss of Jewish self-identification (assimilation).1 As a result of hatred, Jewish life was characterized by centuries of segregation and oppression, which of course affected the construction of Jewish identity. The advent of Jewish inclusion resulting from Enlightenment thought brought to light the issue of an identity grounded in conflict and hardship. For German Jews in particular, the opportunity to enter society at large forced the question of their perception as being European or German in addition to being Jewish."


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Jewish Identities, volume 9, issue 1, in 2016 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

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Johns Hopkins University Press