From Tel Aviv to LA

Israelis as New American Ethnics

by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
published in MER150

The Manhattan telephone directory, like that of any major American city, reflects the United States’ melting pot in action. Flipping through its pages and browsing through the names of a million individuals, one realizes quickly that some of them do not melt very readily. Comparing the directory of 20 years ago and that of today reveals certain changes in the origins of immigrant groups and their meltability. The 1987 Manhattan telephone directory is filled with traditional Jewish names, and there is nothing new about that. But Israeli names are not Jewish, and that is why they stick out in Manhattan and elsewhere in the United States.

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