Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Striking the balance between pluribus and unum

This might explain how assimilation now is different than our grandparents went through.  - - Donna Poisl

By Brad Stutzman, Austin Community Newspapers Staff

By the time his family came to America, when he was 5, the component parts of Israel Isidore Baline’s life were not necessarily adding up to a sure-fire recipe for success in this, his new adopted home.

He was born in a dirt-floor hut, on foreign soil, in a non-English-speaking country. He belonged to an historically despised religious minority.

Yet Baline’s work – 125 years after his birth and 24 years since his death – remains familiar to almost every American today.

Here, in his adopted country, he’s better known to us by his adopted name – Irving Berlin. It is a remarkable triumph of American melting-pot values, that a Russian-born Jew wrote the songs “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.”
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