A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture
By Shachar M. Pinsker
New York University Press
A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture by Shachar M. Pinsker is a cultural history that focuses on Ashkenazi writers in the period of “the enormous historical, cultural and economic upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries.” It reports that coffee and coffeehouses were imported to European cities from the Ottoman Empire beginning in the 18th century and that coffeehouses became popular literary gathering places.
The insight on which the book is based is that “modern Jewish culture… is fundamentally diasporic and transnational, no matter where it is provisionally located.” Jewish writers were physically on the move, trying to get from shtetls to cities, from countries where they didn’t want to be to countries that had more appeal, from places where they couldn’t get jobs or get published to places where they hoped they could. [Read more…]