May 26, 2011

A new generation

Two generations walk together in this picture. A Jewish mother with traditional clothing and the daughter with Parisian outfit. Modernization in the city and the Jewish community brought changes and created a new group of secularized and westernized Jews. The Alliance Israélite Universelle, a French Jewish organisation, extended in the end of the 19th century its reach in the city and modern schools began to open to educate a new generation of young people. As Fleming writes: "They exchanged their parent's clothes for Western styles, became looser in their religious observance, and mingled with their non-Jewish neighbors. Cafés and movie theaters sprung up around Salonika's shoreside promenade to cater to the new cohort of semi-Europeanized Jewish bourgeoisie". While the new habits faced criticism by some of the older generation it was these alliance graduates that helped the community to adapt to the new circumstances that modernization was bringing to the city.

Picture from "Οι Εβραίοι της Θεσσαλονίκης: μέσα από τις καρτ-ποστάλ, 1886-1917" by Κωστής Κοψίδας

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