Café Culture in the "Jewish City"

From its foundation in the "wild south" of the 18th century Russian Empire, Odessa has been a city full of myth, not the least of which is the mythic space of the modern café. Known as the "Jewish City," Odessa's history is intimately connected to a complicated sense of Jewishness. This identity, with all its freedoms, conflicts, and contradictions, was reflected most poignantly in the open, modern institution of the modern café, which in Odessa as in cities across Europe and across the world was in the 19th and early 20th centuries a center of Jewish cultural activity.

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