How Synagogues Became <i>Shuls</i>

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This paper introduces the &#8220;boomerang effect,&#8221; the resurgence of substrate features that were previously on the wane. Among American Jews, Yiddish loanwords have waned and waxed over the past century, and in the domains of religion and popular culture, we currently see increased use of certain loanwords, including shul (&#8216;synagogue&#8217;), leyn (&#8216;chant Torah&#8217;), daven (&#8216;pray&#8217;), and chutzpah (&#8216;gall&#8217;). This paper offers evidence for this trend using data from a survey about language use, a corpus study of the American Jewish press from 1895 to the present, and analysis of media oriented toward young Jewish adults. These findings are discussed in light of changes in American society and in the Jewish community, as well as the notion of the &#8220;third-generation return.&#8221;


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