The Yiddish Are Coming
DOI link for The Yiddish Are Coming
The Yiddish Are Coming book
As Macdonald Smith Moore has so effectively traced, early-twentieth-century champions of a musically realized "Yankee redemptive culture" racialized Jews as "Oriental middlemen between whites and blacks," responsible for the invasion of national culture with foreign elements and primitive sensuality. It was at Jewish Uncle Sam's tailor shop where Katz gave his first public clarinet performances as a young boy, playing "Yankee Doodle" for his uncle and other local Jewish businessmen and friends from the neighborhood. Dialect comedy was a vaudeville staple among a variety of ethnic and racial groups. Instead of making music out of Yiddish in "intimate" spaces, Katz loudly inserted Yiddish into the public sphere. If heard in public, in front of the wrong crowd, it might be a land mine. The difference between Katz and Sherman is clear: Sherman molded the traditional Jewish song "Hava Nagila" into "Harvey and Sheila" and came up with suburban lawns, Ivy League universities, attorneys, CEOs, trips to Europe, and GOP tendencies.