I want to write about Southern Jews and how their particular mentality has helped to shape my ethics. What I primarily want to discuss in relation to these southern Jews has almost nothing to do with their religiosity and almost everything to do with the rate at which I believe they habitually assimilate to “American” culture. This “Americanization”, as it were, has almost everything to do with the size of steel production in neighboring regions. Disparate items on the surface, steel production and the rapidly assimilating trend of Southern Jews has produced in me, since I was ten years old, a frightening tendency to overlook the impact of inaction on the overarching simplicity of nature.
What do I mean by that? Southern Jews would know. They are classless and unworthy. Such is my ideal. To assimilate means to be able to shake off any sense of elitism, without necessarily diluting your own culture or religion. Are Southern Jews in a melting pot or in a “cultural mosaic”? Does it even matter, so long as there is some interaction and synergy between Southern Jews and the “other” America? No matter where you are located, Jews who wish to remain true to their identity must always negotiate these issues of cultural purity, cultural synergy, class and worth. I have grappled with these themes all my life. There is something counter-intuitive to the struggle, and Southern Jews exemplify this clearly. No matter if a group decides to assimilate partially or wholly, there will always be a separation of cultures.
This is not to admit defeat to the American project. There are many facets of mainstream normalcy that could not exist without the synergistic and positive effects of once-exotic non-normative heritages. Not too long ago, a woman covering her hair in public was adhering to a Christian norm as well as a Jewish one. Things change. The workforce bears these changing mainstream norms and translates them into productivity. The music industry was once as segregated as any other in America, but now the American project is absorbing all races and international voices. No matter whether southern Jews stay there or move up to Brooklyn, they will always be considered Jews by other cultures.
What does this all have to do with steel production? Steel is the backbone of American industry. It is the modern equivalent for wood in a more ancient time, which is where much of Jewish history resides. I’m not exactly sure where this argument is leading, but I know the riches of Dale Carnegie fit in here somewhere. He was a steel magnate in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Fine. Let’s say steel production has absolutely nothing to do with Southern Jews or my ethics (That’s a bit harsh. Absolutely nothing? Really? Let’s see how YOU like it when I come to your blog and give you zero slack). But Dale Carnegie made a fortune and spent it in philanthropy. The backbone of the American dream is to make money. The backbone of Jewish identity includes being responsible, as well as exceptional.
Many southern Jews have founded companies in large southern cities like Houston. As a plumber Houston they have enjoyed much success as the city has grown in size. Older and newer homes alike offer many opportunities in evergreen services that will always be needed.