The New Suburbanites of the 50's:
Looking back, we can see that our generation was a generation on the move. Perhaps even more than our parents. They made the big jump over the water, and then they rooted themselves into the Jewish neighborhoods in New York and the other big cities. But we, the second generation, the young marrieds (not so young any more), who grew up in the depression of the 30′s, have made three moves from our parents’ homes in the old neighborhoods. And each move was, in some ways, as disturbing as our parents’ move out of the shtetl. First we moved to Greenwich Village; next to the more respectable middle-class sections of Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens; and now, to Suburbia. It was the same in Philadelphia, in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland. Each town had its old Jewish neighborhoods, its bohemia, its middle-class areas and its new suburbs.
When enough people move, the scientists call it a movement. Naturally. And sociological studies have to be written about movements, and “think” pieces in serious magazines. And with every movement there is great discussion and taking of sides and shaking of heads. When it is a Jewish movement (meaning the Jewish sector of a general movement) the shaking of heads predominates. What are we coming to? But first, before we try to answer that question, we might retrace the winding route by which we came.
About the Author