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Jewish American Heritage Month
"In 1654, a small ship carrying 23 Jewish refugees sailed into the port of present-day New York City. Fleeing oppression and discrimination, these courageous women and men faced resistance from the colony’s leaders. Nevertheless, they secured the right to remain and became the first Jewish communal presence to settle on American soil. In so doing, they expanded the frontier of religious freedoms that would help define the bedrock principles upon which this Nation was built. During Jewish American Heritage Month, we honor these 23 refugees and the centuries of successive generations of Jewish Americans, who — shaped by their own encounters with prejudice, persecution, and the promise of a better tomorrow — have emboldened our Nation to stand up for justice, equality, and freedom." (U.S. Department of State, 2022).
U.S. Department of State. (2022, April 129). A Proclamation on Jewish American Heritage Month, 2022 [Presidential action]. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/04/29/a-proclamation-on-jewish-american-heritage-month-2022/
Jewish American Heritage Links
Jewish Identity in America
American Jewish Identity Politics by This book explores changes among American Jews in their self-understanding during the last half of the twentieth century. Written by scholars who grew up after World War II and the Holocaust who participated in political struggles in the 1960s and 1970s and who articulated many of the formative concepts of modern Jewish studies, this anthology provides a window into an era of social change. These men and women are among the leading scholars of Jewish history, society and culture.The volume is organized around contested themes in American Jewish life: the Holocaust and World War II, religious pluralism and authenticity, intermarriage and Jewish continuity. Thus, it offers one of the few opportunities for students to learn about these debates from participant scholars.
Publication Date: 2009-02-28
Coming Out Jewish by Like many Jews of our generation, Jon Stratton grew up in a family more concerned about assimilation than about preserving Jewish tradition. While he could easily 'pass' among non-Jews, he found himself increasingly torn between his fear of not belonging and a deeply-felt commitment to his family's past. Coming Out Jewish examines the unique challenge of constructing an identity amid the clash between ethnicity and conformity. For many Jews, the idea of full assimilation ended with the Holocaust. But the pressure to adapt to the mainstream, Stratton eloquently argues, remains powerful, especially for those with anglicized names, assimilationist parents, a history of recent immigration, or ambivalent experiences of themselves as Jews. With reference to the work of Daniel Boyarin, Ien Ang, and Homi Bhabha, among others, Stratton offers fresh analysis on a wide range of topics, including the Jewish origins of pluralism in the US, anti-Semitism in Germany, the Jewishness of sitcoms like Seinfeld, and the Yiddishization of American culture since World War II. More than a book about Jews and Jewishness, Coming Out Jewish smartly and accurately mines the Jewish experience in the West to give voice to the issues of migration, Diaspora, assimilation and identity that affect those, displaced and 'othered', around the world.
Publication Date: 2000-06-08
Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America by Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America includes academics, artists, writers, and civic and religious leaders who contributed chapters focusing on the Sephardi and Mizrahi experience in America. Topics will address language, literature, art, diaspora identity, and civic and political engagement. When discussing identity in America, one contributor will review and explore the distinct philosophy and culture of classic Sephardic Judaism, and how that philosophy and culture represents a viable option for American Jews who seek a rich and meaningful medium through which to balance Jewish tradition and modernity. Another chapter will provide a historical perspective of Sephardi/Ashkenazi Diasporic tensions. Additionally, contributors will address the term Sephardi as a self-imposed, collective, ethnic designation that had to be learned and naturalizedand its parameters defined and negotiatedin the new context of the United States and in conversation with discussions about Sephardic identity across the globe. This volume also will look at the theme of literature, focusing on Egyptian and Iranian writers in the United States. Continuing with the Iranian Jewish community, contributors will discuss the historical and social genesis of Iranian-American Jewish participation and leadership in American civic, political, and Jewish affairs. Another chapter reviews how art is used to express Iranian Diaspora identity and nostalgia. The significance of language among Sephardi and Mizrahi communities is discussed. One chapter looks at the Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jewish population of Seattle, while another confronts the experience of Judeo-Spanish speakers in the United States and how they negotiate identity via the use of language. In addition, scholars will explore how Judeo-Spanish speakers engage in dialogue with one another from a century ago, and furthermore, how they use and modify their language when they find themselves in Spanish-speaking areas today.
Publication Date: 2015-12-15
Stepping into Zion by By studying the multiracial Jewish organisation Hatzaad Harishon, Janice W. Fernheimer's Stepping into Zion considers the question "Who is a Jew?" - a critical rhetorical issue with far-reaching consequences for Jews and non-Jews alike. Hatzaad Harishon ("The First Step") was a New York-based, multiracial Jewish organisation that worked to increase recognition and legitimacy of black Jews in the sixties and seventies. In Stepping into Zion, Janice W. Fernheimer examines the history and archives of Hatzaad Harishon to illuminate the definition and borders of Jewish identity, which have critical relevance to Jews of all traditions as well as to non-Jews. Fernheimer focuses on a period when white Jewish identity was in flux and deeply influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. In 1964, white and black Jews formed Hatzaad Harishon to foster interaction and unity between black and white Jewish communities. They raised the question of who or what constitutes Jewishness or Jewish identity, and in searching for an answer succeeded - both historically and rhetorically - in gaining increased recognition for black Jews. Fernheimer traces how members of Hatzaad Harishon, who did not share the same set of definitions, were able to create common ground in a process she terms "interruptive invention." Through insightful interpretation of Hatzaad Harishon's archival materials, Fernheimer chronicles the group's successes and failures within the larger rhetorical history of conflicts that emerge when cultural identities shift or expand. Stepping into Zion offers "interruptive invention" as a framework for understanding and changing certain dominant discourses about racial and religious identity, allowing those who may lack institutional power or authority to begin to claim it.
Publication Date: 2014-10-30
Who Is a Jew? by Jewish identity is a perennial concern, as Jews seek to define the major features and status of those who ?belong,? while at the same time draw distinctions between individuals and groups on the ?inside? and those on the ?outside.? From a variety of perspectives, scholarly as well as confessional, there is intense interest among non-Jewish and Jewish commentators alike in the basic question, ?Who is a Jew?? This collection of articles draws diverse historical, cultural, and religious insights from scholars who represent a wide range of academic and theological disciplines. Some of the authors directly address the issue of Jewish identity as it is being played out today in Israel and Diaspora communities. Others look to earlier time periods or societies as invaluable resources for enhanced and deepened analysis of contemporary matters. All authors in this collection make a concerted effort to present their evidence and their conclusions in a way that is accessible to the general public and valid for other scholars. The result is a richly textured approach to a topic that seems always relevant. If, as is the case, no single answer appeals to all of the authors, this is as it should be. We all gain from the application of a number of approaches and perspectives, which enrich our appreciation of the people whose lives are affected, for better or worse, by real-life discussions of this issue and the resultant actions toward exclusivity or inclusivity.
Publication Date: 2014-10-15
You Should See Yourself by The past few decades have seen a remarkable surge in Jewish influences on American culture. Entertainers and artists, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Tony Kushner have heralded new waves of television, film, and theater; a major klezmer revival is under way; bagels are now as commonplace as pizza; and kabalah has become as cool as crystals. Does this broad range of cultural expression accurately reflect what it means to be Jewish in America today? Bringing together fourteen essays by leading scholars, ""You Should See Yourself"" examines the fluctuating representations of Jewishness in a variety of areas of popular culture and high art, including literature, the media, film, theater, music, dance, painting, photography, and stand-up comedy. Contributors explore the evolution that has taken place within these cultural forms, whether transformations have been gradual or sudden, and how we can best explain these changes. Are variations in our understanding of Jewishness the result of general phenomena such as multiculturalism, politics, and postmodernism, or are they the product of more specifically Jewish concerns such as the intermarriage/continuity crisis, religious renewal, and relations between the United States and Israel? An introduction by Vincent Brook frames the essays by comparing Jewish identity in American culture to the fractured identities that are the norm in postmodern society. Accessible to students and general readers alike, this volume takes an important step toward advancing the discussion of Jewish cultural influences in this country.
Publication Date: 2006-07-30
Intermarriage in America
Jewish on Their Own Terms by Over half of all American Jewish children are being raised by intermarried parents. This demographic group will have a tremendous impact on American Judaism as it is lived and practiced in the coming decades. To date, however, in both academic studies about Judaism and in the popular imagination, such children and their parents remain marginal. Jennifer A. Thompson takes a different approach. In Jewish on Their Own Terms , she tells the stories of intermarried couples, the rabbis and other Jewish educators who work with them, and the conflicting public conversations about intermarriage among American Jews. Thompson notes that in the dominant Jewish cultural narrative, intermarriage symbolizes individualism and assimilation. Talking about intermarriage allows American Jews to discuss their anxieties about remaining distinctively Jewish despite their success in assimilating into American culture. In contrast, Thompson uses ethnography to describe the compelling concerns of all of these parties and places their anxieties firmly within the context of American religious culture and morality. She explains how American and traditional Jewish gender roles converge to put non-Jewish women in charge of raising Jewish children. Interfaith couples are like other Americans in often harboring contradictory notions of individual autonomy, universal religious truths, and obligations to family and history. Focusing on the lived experiences of these families, Jewish on Their Own Terms provides a complex and insightful portrait of intermarried couples and the new forms of American Judaism that they are constructing.
Publication Date: 2013-10-30
Still Jewish by Over the last century, American Jews married outside their religion at increasing rates. By closely examining the intersection of intermarriage and gender across the twentieth century, Keren R. McGinity describes the lives of Jewish women who intermarried while placing their decisions in historical context. The first comprehensive history of these intermarried women, Still Jewish is a multigenerational study combining in-depth personal interviews and an astute analysis of how interfaith relationships and intermarriage were portrayed in the mass media, advice manuals, and religious community-generated literature. Still Jewish dismantles assumptions that once a Jew intermarries, she becomes fully assimilated into the majority Christian population, religion, and culture. Rather than becoming "lost" to the Jewish community, women who intermarried later in the century were more likely to raise their children with strong ties to Judaism than women who intermarried earlier in the century. Bringing perennially controversial questions of Jewish identity, continuity, and survival to the forefront of the discussion, Still Jewish addresses topics of great resonance in a diverse America.
Publication Date: 2009-02-01
JewAsian by In 2010 approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children. JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt's book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt's research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the twenty-first century.
Publication Date: 2016-07-01
Gender and Sexuality
Identity Papers by Argues that debates about Jewish identity and assimilation are signs of creative potential rather than crisis.
Publication Date: 2011-12-01
A Jewish Feminine Mystique? by In The Feminine Mystique , Jewish-raised Betty Friedan struck out against a postwar American culture that pressured women to play the role of subservient housewives. However, Friedan never acknowledged that many American women refused to retreat from public life during these years. Now, A Jewish Feminine Mystique? examines how Jewish women sought opportunities and created images that defied the stereotypes and prescriptive ideology of the ""feminine mystique."" As workers with or without pay, social justice activists, community builders, entertainers, and businesswomen, most Jewish women championed responsibilities outside their homes. Jewishness played a role in shaping their choices, shattering Friedan's assumptions about how middle-class women lived in the postwar years. Focusing on ordinary Jewish women as well as prominent figures such as Judy Holliday, Jennie Grossinger, and Herman Wouk's fictional Marjorie Morningstar , leading scholars explore the wide canvas upon which American Jewish women made their mark after the Second World War.
Publication Date: 2010-09-30
Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 by Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860--1920 draws on a wealth of archival material, much of which has never been published--or even read--to illuminate the ways in which Jewish girls' adolescent experiences reflected larger issues relating to gender, ethnicity, religion, and education. Klapper explores the dual roles girls played as agents of acculturation and guardians of tradition. Their search for an identity as American girls that would not require the abandonment of Jewish tradition and culture mirrored the struggle of their families and communities for integration into American society. While focusing on their lives as girls, not the adults they would later become, Klapper draws on the papers of such figures as Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Edna Ferber, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Showboat; and Marie Syrkin, literary critic and Zionist. Klapper also analyzes the diaries, memoirs, and letters of hundreds of other girls whose later lives and experiences have been lost to history. Told in an engaging style and filled with colorful quotes, the book brings to life a neglected group of fascinating historical figures during a pivotal moment in the development of gender roles, adolescence, and the modern American Jewish community.
Publication Date: 2005-01-10
Queer Jews by Queer Jews describes how queer Jews are changing Jewish American culture, creating communities and making room for themselves, as openly, unapologetically queer and Jewish. Combining political analysis and personal memoir, these essays explore the various ways queer Jews are creating new forms of Jewish communities and institutions, and demanding that Jewish communities become more inclusive.
Publication Date: 2002-07-05
Wrestling with God and Men by For millennia, two biblical verses have been understood to condemn sex between men as an act so abhorrent that it is punishable by death. Traditionally Orthodox Jews, believing the scripture to be the word of God, have rejected homosexuality in accordance with this interpretation. In 1999, Rabbi Steven Greenberg challenged this tradition when he became the first Orthodox rabbi ever to openly declare his homosexuality. Wrestling with God and Men is the product of Rabbi Greenberg's ten-year struggle to reconcile his two warring identities. In this compelling and groundbreaking work, Greenberg challenges long held assumptions of scriptural interpretation and religious identity as he marks a path that is both responsible to human realities and deeply committed to God and Torah. Employing traditional rabbinic resources, Greenberg presents readers with surprising biblical interpretations of the creation story, the love of David and Jonathan, the destruction of Sodom, and the condemning verses of Leviticus. But Greenberg goes beyond the question of whether homosexuality is biblically acceptable to ask how such relationships can be sacred. In so doing, he draws on a wide array of nonscriptural texts to introduce readers to occasions of same-sex love in Talmudic narratives, medieval Jewish poetry and prose, and traditional Jewish case law literature. Ultimately, Greenberg argues that Orthodox communities must open up debate, dialogue, and discussion - precisely the foundation upon which Jewish law rests - to truly deal with the issue of homosexual love.
Publication Date: 2004-06-30
American Jewish History
Books from the library's collections:
American Jewish History by Presenting the American Jewish historical experience from its communal beginnings to the present through documents, photographs, and other illustrations, many of which have never before been published, this entirely new collection of source materials complements existing textbooks on American Jewish history with an organization and pedagogy that reflect the latest historiographical trends and the most creative teaching approaches. Ten chapters, organized chronologically, include source materials that highlight the major thematic questions of each era and tell many stories about what it was like to immigrate and acculturate to American life, practice different forms of Judaism, engage with the larger political, economic, and social cultures that surrounded American Jews, and offer assistance to Jews in need around the world. At the beginning of each chapter, the editors provide a brief historical overview highlighting some of the most important developments in both American and American Jewish history during that particular era. Source materials in the collection are preceded by short headnotes that orient readers to the documents' historical context and significance.
Publication Date: 2014-11-04
American Judaism by This magisterial work chronicles the 350-year history of the Jewish religion in America. Tracing American Judaism from its origins in the colonial era through the present day, Jonathan Sarna explores the ways in which Judaism adapted in this new context. How did American culture - predominantly Protestant and overwhelmingly capitalist - affect Jewish religion and culture? And how did American Jews shape their own communities and faith in the new world? Jonathan Sarna, a preeminent scholar of American Judaism, tells the story of individuals struggling to remain Jewish while also becoming American. He offers a dynamic and timely history of assimilation and revitalisation, of faith lost and faith regained. The first comprehensive history of American Judaism in over fifty years, this book is both a celebration of 350 years of Jewish life in America and essential reading for anyone interested in American religion and life.
Publication Date: 2004-03-11
The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America by This is the first anthology in more than half a century to offer fresh insight into the history of Jews and Judaism in America. Beginning with six chronological survey essays, the collection builds with twelve topical essays focusing on a variety of important themes in the American Jewish and Judaic experience. The volume opens with early Jewish settlers (1654-1820), the expansion of Jewish life in America (1820-1901), the great wave of eastern European Jewish immigrants (1880-1924), the character of American Judaism between the two world wars, American Jewish life from the end of World War II to the Six-Day War, and the growth of Jews' influence and affluence. The second half of the book includes essays on the community of Orthodox Jews, the history of Jewish education in America, the rise of Jewish social clubs at the turn of the century, the history of southern and western Jewry, Jewish responses to Nazism and the Holocaust; feminism's confrontation with Judaism, and the eternal question of what defines American Jewish culture. The contributions of distinguished scholars seamlessly integrate recent scholarship. Endnotes provide the reader with access to the authors' research and sources. Comprehensive, original, and elegantly crafted, The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America not only introduces the student to this thrilling history but also provides new perspectives for the scholar. Contributors: Dianne Ashton (Rowan University), Mark K. Bauman (Atlanta Metropolitan College), Kimmy Caplan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), Eli Faber (City University of New York), Eric L. Goldstein (University of Michigan), Jeffrey S. Gurock (Yeshiva University), Jenna Weissman Joselit (Princeton University), Melissa Klapper (Rowan University), Alan T. Levenson (Siegal College of Judaic Studies), Rafael Medoff (David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies), Pamela S. Nadell (American University), Riv-Ellen Prell (University of Minnesota), Linda S. Raphael (George Washington University), Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers University), Michael E. Staub (City University of New York), William Toll (University of Oregon), Beth S. Wenger (University of Pennsylvania), Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis University)
Publication Date: 2009-08-24
The Jews of the United States, 1654 To 2000 by Since Peter Stuyvesant greeted with enmity the first group of Jews to arrive on the docks of New Amsterdam in 1654, Jews have entwined their fate and fortunes with that of the United States--a project marked by great struggle and great promise. What this interconnected destiny has meant for American Jews and how it has defined their experience among the world's Jews is fully chronicled in this work, a comprehensive and finely nuanced history of Jews in the United States from 1654 through the end of the past century. Hasia R. Diner traces Jewish participation in American history--from the communities that sent formal letters of greeting to George Washington; to the three thousand Jewish men who fought for the Confederacy and the ten thousand who fought in the Union army; to the Jewish activists who devoted themselves to the labor movement and the civil rights movement. Diner portrays this history as a constant process of negotiation, undertaken by ordinary Jews who wanted at one and the same time to be Jews and full Americans. Accordingly, Diner draws on both American and Jewish sources to explain the chronology of American Jewish history, the structure of its communal institutions, and the inner dynamism that propelled it. Her work documents the major developments of American Judaism--he economic, social, cultural, and political activities of the Jews who immigrated to and settled in America, as well as their descendants--and shows how these grew out of both a Jewish and an American context. She also demonstrates how the equally compelling urges to maintain Jewishness and to assimilate gave American Jewry the particular character that it retains to this day in all its subtlety and complexity.
Publication Date: 2006-05-30
Jewish American Experiences
Jewish Life in Small-Town America by In this book, Lee Shai Weissbach offers the first comprehensive portrait of small-town Jewish life in America. Exploring the history of communities of 100 to 1000 Jews, the book focuses on the years from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II. Weissbach examines the dynamics of 490 communities across the United States and reveals that smaller Jewish centers were not simply miniature versions of larger communities but were instead alternative kinds of communities in many respects. The book investigates topics ranging from migration patterns to occupational choices, from Jewish education and marriage strategies to congregational organization. The story of smaller Jewish communities attests to the richness and complexity of American Jewish history and also serves to remind us of the diversity of small-town society in times past.
Publication Date: 2005-05-11
Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail by The image of the West looms large in the American imagination. Yet the history of American Jewry and particularly of American Jewish women--has been heavily weighted toward the East. Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail rectifies this omission as the first full book to trace the history and contributions of Jewish women in the American West. In many ways, the Jewish experience in the West was distinct. Given the still-forming social landscape, beginning with the 1848 Gold Rush, Jews were able to integrate more fully into local communities than they had in the East. Jewish women in the West took advantage of the unsettled nature of the region to "open new doors" for themselves in the public sphere in ways often not yet possible elsewhere in the country. Women were crucial to the survival of early communities, and made distinct contributions not only in shaping Jewish communal life but outside the Jewish community as well. Western Jewish women's level of involvement at the vanguard of social welfare and progressive reform, commerce, politics, and higher education and the professions is striking given their relatively small numbers. This engaging work--full of stories from the memoirs and records of Jewish pioneer women--illuminates the pivotal role these women played in settling America's Western frontier.
Publication Date: 2006-09-29
Jews and Booze by Finalist, 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature from the Jewish Book Council Traces American Jews' complicated relationship to alcohol through the years leading up to and after prohibition From kosher wine to their ties to the liquor trade in Europe, Jews have a longstanding historical relationship with alcohol. But once prohibition hit America, American Jews were forced to choose between abandoning their historical connection to alcohol and remaining outside the American mainstream. In Jews and Booze, Marni Davis examines American Jews' long and complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the years of the national prohibition movement's rise and fall. Bringing to bear an extensive range of archival materials, Davis offers a novel perspective on a previously unstudied area of American Jewish economic activity--the making and selling of liquor, wine, and beer--and reveals that alcohol commerce played a crucial role in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the growth of Jewish communities in the United States. But prohibition's triumph cast a pall on American Jews' history in the alcohol trade, forcing them to revise, clarify, and defend their communal and civic identities, both to their fellow Americans and to themselves.
Publication Date: 2012-01-01
Jews and the Civil War by At least 8,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. A few served together in Jewish companies while most fought alongside Christian comrades. Yet even as they stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" on the front lines, they encountered unique challenges. In Jews and the Civil War, Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn assemble for the first time the foremost scholarship on Jews and the Civil War, little known even to specialists in the field. These accessible and far-ranging essays from top scholars are grouped into seven thematic sections--Jews and Slavery, Jews and Abolition, Rabbis and the March to War, Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War, The Home Front, Jews as a Class, and Aftermath--each with an introduction by the editors. Together they reappraise the impact of the war on Jews in the North and the South, offering a rich and fascinating portrait of the experience of Jewish soldiers and civilians from the home front to the battle front.
Publication Date: 2010-05-28
My Future Is in America by In 1942, YIVO held a contest for the best autobiography by a Jewish immigrant on the theme "Why I Left the Old Country and What I Have Accomplished in America." Chosen from over two hundred entries, and translated from Yiddish, the nine life stories in My Future Is in America provide a compelling portrait of American Jewish life in the immigrant generation at the turn of the twentieth century. The writers arrived in America in every decade from the 1890s to the 1920s. They include manual workers, shopkeepers, housewives, communal activists, and professionals who came from all parts of Eastern Europe and ushered in a new era in American Jewish history. In their own words, the immigrant writers convey the complexities of the transition between the Old and New Worlds. An Introduction places the writings in historical and literary context, and annotations explain historical and cultural allusions made by the writers. This unique volume introduces readers to the complex world of Yiddish-speaking immigrants while at the same time elucidating important themes and topics of interest to those in immigration studies, ethnic studies, labor history, and literary studies. Published in conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
Publication Date: 2005-12-01
We Remember with Reverence and Love by Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies Recipient of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Humanities-Intellectual & Cultural History It has become an accepted truth: after World War II, American Jews chose to be silent about the mass murder of millions of their European brothers and sisters at the hands of the Nazis. In this compelling work, Hasia R. Diner shows the assumption of silence to be categorically false. Uncovering a rich and incredibly varied trove of remembrances--in song, literature, liturgy, public display, political activism, and hundreds of other forms--We Remember with Reverence and Love shows that publicly memorializing those who died in the Holocaust arose from a deep and powerful element of Jewish life in postwar America. Not only does she marshal enough evidence to dismantle the idea of American Jewish "forgetfulness," she brings to life the moving and manifold ways that this widely diverse group paid tribute to the tragedy. Diner also offers a compelling new perspective on the 1960s and its potent legacy, by revealing how our typical understanding of the postwar years emerged from the cauldron of cultural divisions and campus battles a generation later. The student activists and "new Jews" of the 1960s who, in rebelling against the American Jewish world they had grown up in "a world of remarkable affluence and broadening cultural possibilities" created a flawed portrait of what their parents had, or rather, had not, done in the postwar years. This distorted legacy has been transformed by two generations of scholars, writers, rabbis, and Jewish community leaders into a taken-for-granted truth.
Publication Date: 2009-04-01
What the Rabbis Said by What the Rabbis Said examines a relatively unexplored facet of the rich social history of nineteenth-century American Jews. Based on sources that have heretofore been largely neglected, it traces the sermons and other public statements of rabbis, both Traditionalists and Reformers, on a host of matters that engaged the Jewish community before 1900. Reminding the reader of the complexities and diversity that characterized the religious congregations in nineteenth-century America, Cohen offers insight into the primary concerns of both the religious leaders and the laity--full acculturation to American society, modernization of the Jewish religious tradition, and insistence on the recognized equality of a non-Christian minority. She also discusses the evolution of denominationalism with the split between Traditionalism and Reform, the threat of antisemitism, the origins of American Zionism, and interreligious dialogue. The book concludes with a chapter on the professionalization of the rabbinate and the legacy bequeathed to the next century. On all those key issues rabbis spoke out individually or in debates with other rabbis. From the evidence presented, the congregational rabbi emerges as a pioneer, the leader of a congregation, as well as spokesman for the Jews in the larger society, forging an independence from his European counterparts, and laboring for the preservation of the Jewish faith and heritage in an unfamiliar environment.
Publication Date: 2008-05-17
Music, Film, and Television
Books from the library's collections:
Fannie Bloomfield-Zeisler by One of the foremost piano virtuosi of her time, Fannie Bloomfield-Zeisler reliably filled Carnegie Hall. As a ""new woman,"" she simultaneously embraced family life and forged an independent career built around a repertoire of the German music she tirelessly championed. Yet after her death she faded into obscurity. In this new biography, Beth Abelson Macleod reintroduces a figure long, and unjustly, overlooked by music history. Trained in Vienna, Bloomfield-Zeisler significantly advanced the development of classical music in the United States. Her powerful and sensitive performances, both in recital and with major orchestras, won her followers across the United States and Europe and often provided her American audiences with their first exposure to the pieces she played. The European-style salon in her Chicago home welcomed musicians, scientists, authors, artists, and politicians, while her marriage to attorney Sigmund Zeisler placed her at the center of a historical moment when Sigmund defended the anarchists in the 1886 Haymarket trial. In its re-creation of a musical and social milieu, Fannie Bloomfield-Zeisler paints a vivid portrait of a dynamic artistic life.
Publication Date: 2015-06-09
The New Jew in Film by Jewish film characters have existed almost as long as the medium itself. But around 1990, films about Jews and their representation in cinema multiplied and took on new forms, marking a significant departure from the past. With a fresh generation of Jewish filmmakers, writers, and actors at work, contemporary cinemas have been depicting a multiplicity of new variants, including tough Jews; brutish Jews; gay and lesbian Jews; Jewish cowboys, skinheads, and superheroes; and even Jews in space. The New Jew in Film is grounded in the study of over three hundred films from Hollywood and beyond. Nathan Abrams explores these new and changing depictions of Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism, providing a wider, more representative picture of this transformation. In this compelling, surprising, and provocative book, chapters explore masculinity, femininity, passivity, agency, and religion in addition to a departure into new territory--including bathrooms and food. Abrams's concern is to reveal how the representation of the Jew is used to convey confidence or anxieties about Jewish identity and history as well as questions of racial, sexual, and gender politics. In doing so, he provides a welcome overview of important Jewish films produced globally over the past twenty years.
Publication Date: 2012-03-12
This LibGuide was co-created by Amy Harth, PhD, Assistant National Dean of Accreditation and Academic Quality, and by Joe Louderback, MLS, Reference and Instruction Librarian, as part of an ongoing series to reflect DeVry University’s commitment to, and celebration of, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Special thanks are due to Caryn Lerner, Academic Specialist, who also contributed to this Guide.
American Jewry and the Re-Invention of the East European Jewish Past by The postwar decades were not the "golden era" in which American Jews easily partook in the religious revival, liberal consensus, and suburban middle-class comfort. Rather it was a period marked by restlessness and insecurity born of the shock about the Holocaust and of the unprecedented opportunities in American society. American Jews responded to loss and opportunity by obsessively engaging with the East European past. The proliferation of religious texts on traditional spirituality, translations of Yiddish literature, historical essays , photographs and documents of shtetl culture, theatrical and musical events, culminating in the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, illustrate the grip of this past on post-1945 American Jews. This study shows how American Jews reimagined their East European past to make it usable for their American present. By rewriting their East European history, they created a repertoire of images, stories, and ideas that have shaped American Jewry to this day.
Publication Date: 2017-11-20
American Jews and America's Game by Most fans don’t know how far the Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Ausmus, Youkilis, Braun, and Kinsler. In fact, that presence extends to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig, labor leaders Marvin Miller and Don Fehr, owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Stuart Sternberg, officials Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro, sportswriters Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, and Roger Kahn, and even famous Jewish baseball fans like Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank.nbsp; The life stories of these and many others, on and off the field, have been compiled from nearly fifty in-depth interviews and arranged by decade in this edifying and entertaining work of oral and cultural history. In American Jews and America’s Game each person talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Each tells about being in the midst of the colorful pantheon of players who, over the past seventy-five years or more, have made baseball what it is. Their stories tell, as no previous book has, the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America’s pastime.
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Beyond Stereotypes by In the decades after the Civil War, sports slowly gained a prominent position within American culture. This development provided Jews with opportunities to participate in one of the few American cultures not closed off to them. Jewish athleticism challenged anti-Semitic depictions of Jews? supposed physical inferiority and an Americanization narrative emerged that connected Jewish athleticism with full acceptance and integration into American society. This acceptance was not without struggle, but Jews succeeded and participated in the American sporting culture as athletes, coaches, owners, and fans. The contributions to this volume paint a broad picture of Jewish participation in sports, with essays written by respected historians who examine the impact of sport on Judaism. Despite the continued belief that Jewish religious or cultural identity remains somehow distinct from the American idea of the "athlete," the volume demonstrates that American Jews have made a tremendous contribution to American sports, and that sports have helped construct American Jewish culture and identity.
Publication Date: 2014-12-30
Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture by This unique encyclopedia chronicles American Jewish popular culture, past and present in music, art, food, religion, literature, and more. Over 150 entries, written by scholars in the field, highlight topics ranging from animation and comics to Hollywood and pop psychology. Without the profound contributions of American Jews, the popular culture we know today would not exist. Where would music be without the music of Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand, humor without Judd Apatow and Jerry Seinfeld, film without Steven Spielberg, literature without Phillip Roth, Broadway without Rodgers and Hammerstein? These are just a few of the artists who broke new ground and changed the face of American popular culture forever. This unique encyclopedia chronicles American Jewish popular culture, past and present in music, art, food, religion, literature, and more. Over 150 entries, written by scholars in the field, highlight topics ranging from animation and comics to Hollywood and pop psychology. Up-to-date coverage and extensive attention to political and social contexts make this encyclopedia is an excellent resource for high school and college students interested in the full range of Jewish popular culture in the United States. Academic and public libraries will also treasure this work as an incomparable guide to our nation's heritage. Illustrations complement the text throughout, and many entries cite works for further reading. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography of print and electronic sources to encourage further research.
Publication Date: 2008-12-30
Jewhooing the Sixties by Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand first came to public attention in the early 1960s, a period Kaufman identifies as historically ripe for American Jews to reexamine their (Jewish) identities. All four achieved extraordinary success in their respective fields and became celebrities within an American context, while at the same time they were clearly identifiable as Jews-although they were perceived to be Jewish in very different ways. Kaufman investigates these celebrities' rise to fame, the specific brand of Jewishness each one represented, and how their fans and the public at large perceived their ethnic identity as Jews. Situating Koufax, Bruce, Dylan, and Streisand within the larger history of American Jewish celebrity, Kaufman argues that the four early 1960s figures represent a turning point between celebrity Jews of the past-such as Hank Greenberg, Groucho Marx, Irving Berlin, and Fanny Brice-and those of the present, such as Jon Stewart, Matisyahu, and Natalie Portman. Providing an entry into Jewish celebrity studies, this lively narrative explores the intersection between popular celebrity and Jewish identity and thereby examines the cultural construction of Jewishness in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Publication Date: 2012-11-13
Kosher USA by Kosher USA follows the fascinating journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus. Kosher USA is filled with big personalities, rare archival finds, and surprising influences: the Atlanta rabbi Tobias Geffen, who made Coke kosher; the lay chemist and kosher-certification pioneer Abraham Goldstein; the kosher-meat magnate Harry Kassel; and the animal-rights advocate Temple Grandin, a strong supporter of shechita, or Jewish slaughtering practice. By exploring the complex encounter between ancient religious principles and modern industrial methods, Kosher USA adds a significant chapter to the story of Judaism's interaction with non-Jewish cultures and the history of modern Jewish American life as well as American foodways.
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America by The Holocaust took place far from the United States and involved few Americans, yet rather than receding, this event has assumed a greater significance in the American consciousness with the passage of time. As a window into the process whereby the Holocaust has been appropriated in American culture, Hollywood movies are particularly luminous. Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America examines reactions to three films: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), The Pawnbroker (1965), and Schindler's List (1992), and considers what those reactions reveal about the place of the Holocaust in the American mind, and how those films have shaped the popular perception of the Holocaust. It also considers the difference in the reception of the two earlier films when they first appeared in the 1960s and retrospective evaluations of them from closer to our own times. Alan Mintz also addresses the question of how Americans will shape the memory of the Holocaust in the future, concluding with observations on the possibilities and limitations of what is emerging as the major resource for the shaping of Holocaust memory'videotaped survivor testimony. Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America examines some of the influences behind the broad and deep changes in American consciousness and the social forces that permitted the Holocaust to move from the margins to the center of American discourse.
Publication Date: 2001-10-01
Tastes of Faith by "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are," wrote the 18th Century French politician and musician Jean Brillat-Savarin, giving expression to long held assumptions about the role of food, taste, and eating in the construction of cultural identities. Foodways?the cultural, religious, social, economic, and political practices related to food consumption and production?unpack and reveal the meaning of what we eat, our tastes. They explain not just our flavor profiles, but our senses of refinement and judgment. They also reveal quite a bit about the history and culture of how food operates and performs in society. More specifically, Jewish food practices and products expose and explain how different groups within American society think about what it means to be Jewish and the values (as well as the prejudices) people have about what "Jewish" means. Food?what one eats, how one eats it, when one eats it?is a fascinating entryway into identity; for Jews, it is at once a source of great nostalgia and pride, and the central means by which acculturation and adaptation takes place. In chapters that trace the importance and influence of the triad of bagels, lox, and cream cheese, southern kosher hot barbecue, Jewish vegetarianism, American recipes in Jewish advice columns, the draw of eating treyf (nonkosher), and the geography of Jewish food identities, this volume explores American Jewish foodways, predilections, desires, and presumptions.
Publication Date: 2017-12-15
The Tenement Saga by Nearly two million Jewish men, women, and children emigrated from Eastern Europe between 1882 and 1924 and settled in, or passed through, the Lower East Side of New York City. Sanford Sternlicht tells the story of his own childhood in this vibrant neighborhood and puts it within the context of fourteen early twentieth-century East Side writers. Anzia Yezierska, Abraham Cahan, Michael Gold, and Henry Roth, and others defined this new "Jewish homeland" and paved the way for the later great Jewish American novelists. Sternlicht discusses the role of women, the Yiddish Theater, secular values, the struggle between generations, street crime, politics, labor unions, and the importance of newspapers and periodicals. He documents the decline of Yiddish culture as these immigrants blended into what they called "The Golden Land."
Publication Date: 2004-11-09
You Never Call! You Never Write! by In You Never Call, You Never Write, Joyce Antler provides an illuminating and often amusing history of one of the best-known figures in popular culture--the Jewish Mother. Whether drawn as self-sacrificing or manipulative, in countless films, novels, radio and television programs, stand-upcomedy, and psychological and historical studies, she appears as a colossal figure, intensely involved in the lives of her children.Antler traces the odyssey of this compelling personality through decades of American culture. She reminds us of a time when Jewish mothers were admired for their tenacity and nurturance, as in the early twentieth-century image of the "Yiddishe Mama," a sentimental figure popularized byentertainers such as George Jessel, Al Jolson, and Sophie Tucker, and especially by Gertrude Berg, whose amazingly successful "Molly Goldberg" ruled American radio and television for over 25 years. Antler explains the transformation of this Jewish Mother into a "brassy-voiced, smothering, andshrewish" scourge (in Irving Howe's words), detailing many variations on this negative theme, from Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint and Woody Allen's Oedipus Wrecks to television shows such as "The Nanny," "Seinfeld," and "Will and Grace." But she also uncovers a new counter-narrative, leadingfeminist scholars and stand-up comediennes to see the Jewish Mother in positive terms. Continually revised and reinvented, the Jewish Mother becomes in Antler's expert hands a unique lens with which to examine vital concerns of American Jews and the culture at large.A joy to read, You Never Call, You Never Write will delight anyone who has ever known or been nurtured by a "Jewish Mother," and it will be a special source of insight for modern parents. As Antler suggests, in many ways "we are all Jewish Mothers" today.
Publication Date: 2007-04-02
Business and Culture
Chosen Capital by At what moments and in what ways did Jews play a central role in American capitalism? Perhaps fears of this question's anti-Semitic overtones have discouraged scholars from pondering this query even though many are quick to comment upon the speed with which Jews moved up America's class ladder. Chosen Capital addresses this question head-on by exploring Jews' impact on American capitalism as both its architects-through their participation in specific industries-and as its most vocal critics through their support of unionism and radical political movements. Chosen Capital is far from another celebratory work on great businessmen of the American Jewish past. Rather, by focusing on the era when American capitalism was redefined by industrialisation, war, migration, and the emergence of the United States as a superpower, this collection illustrates how Jews living in small towns scattered throughout the South and West along with Jews living in major metropolitan areas shaped and were shaped by the development of America's particular system of capitalism. Contributors examine such diverse topics as Jews in real estate, the liquor industry, and the scrap metal industry; the introduction and selling of Jewish ritual objects and such foods as matzah as commodities; and the part Jews played in developing radical labour agendas (e.g., the American Labor Party and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). These essays force us to rethink not only the central role Jews played in American economic development but also how capitalism has shaped Jewish life over the course of the twentieth-century.
Publication Date: 2012-07-30
Doing Business in America by American and Jewish historians have long shied away from the topic of Jews and business. Avoidance patterns grew in part from old, often negative stereotypes that linked Jews with money, and the perceived ease and regularity with which they found success with money, condemning Jews for their desires for wealth and their proclivities for turning a profit. A new, dauntless generation of historians, however, realizes that Jewish business has had and continues to have a profound impact on American culture and development, and patterns of immigrant Jewish exploration of business opportunities reflect internal, communal, Jewish-cultural structures and their relationship to the larger non-Jewish world. As such, they see the subject rightly as a vital and underexplored area of study. Doing Business in America:A Jewish History, edited by Hasia R. Diner, rises to the challenge of taking on the long-unspoken taboo subject, comprising leading scholars and exploring an array of key topics in this important and growing area of research.
Publication Date: 2018-12-14
Jewish Mad Men by It is easy to dismiss advertising as simply the background chatter of modern life, often annoying, sometimes hilarious, and ultimately meaningless. But Kerri P. Steinberg argues that a careful study of the history of advertising can reveal a wealth of insight into a culture. In Jewish Mad Men, Steinberg looks specifically at how advertising helped shape the evolution of American Jewish life and culture over the past one hundred years. Drawing on case studies of famous advertising campaigns - from Levy's Rye Bread ("You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's") to Hebrew National hot dogs ("We answer to a higher authority") - Steinberg examines advertisements from the late nineteenth-century in New York, the center of advertising in the United States, to trace changes in Jewish life there and across the entire country. She looks at ads aimed at the immigrant population, at suburbanites in midcentury, and at hipster and post-denominational Jews today. In addition to discussing campaigns for everything from Manischewitz wine to matzoh, Jewish Mad Men also portrays the legendary Jewish figures in advertising - like Albert Lasker and Bill Bernbach - and lesser known "Mad Men" like Joseph Jacobs, whose pioneering agency created the brilliantly successful Maxwell House Coffee Haggadah. Throughout, Steinberg uses the lens of advertising to illuminate the Jewish trajectory from outsider to insider, and the related arc of immigration, acculturation, upward mobility, and suburbanization. Anchored in the illustrations, photographs, jingles, and taglines of advertising, Jewish Mad Men features a dozen color advertisements and many black-and-white images. Lively and insightful, this book offers a unique look at both advertising and Jewish life in the United States.
Publication Date: 2015-01-30
Jews, God, and Videotape by A pioneering examination of the impact of new communications technologies and media practices on the religious life of American Jewry Engaging media has been an ongoing issue for American Jews, as it has been for other religious communities in the United States, for several generations. Shandler's examples range from early recordings of cantorial music to Hasidic outreach on the Internet. In between he explores mid-twentieth-century ecumenical radio and television broadcasting, video documentation of life cycle rituals, museum displays and tourist practices as means for engaging the Holocaust as a moral touchstone, and the role of mass-produced material culture in Jews' responses to the American celebration of Christmas. Shandler argues that the impact of these and other media on American Judaism is varied and extensive: they have challenged the role of clergy and transformed the nature of ritual; facilitated innovations in religious practice and scholarship, as well as efforts to maintain traditional observance and teachings; created venues for outreach, both to enhance relationships with non-Jewish neighbors and to promote greater religiosity among Jews; even redefined the notion of what might constitute a Jewish religious community or spiritual experience. As Jews, God, and Videotape demonstrates, American Jews' experiences are emblematic of how religious communities' engagements with new media have become central to defining religiosity in the modern age.
Publication Date: 2009-04-01
Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture by "What have I in common with Jews? I hardly have anything in common with myself!" --Franz Kafka Kafka's quip--paradoxical, self-questioning, ironic--highlights vividly some of the key issues of identity and self-representation for Jewish writers in the 20th century. No group of writers better represents the problems of Jewish identity than Jewish poets writing in the American modernist tradition--specifically secular Jews: those disdainful or suspicious of organized religion, yet forever shaped by those traditions. This collection of essays is the first to address this often obscured dimension of modern and contemporary poetry: the secular Jewish dimension. Editors Daniel Morris and Stephen Paul Miller asked their contributors to address what constitutes radical poetry written by Jews defined as "secular," and whether or not there is a Jewish component or dimension to radical and modernist poetic practice in general. These poets and critics address these questions by exploring the legacy of those poets who preceded and influenced them--Stein, Zukofsky, Reznikoff, Oppen, and Ginsberg, among others. While there is no easy answer for these writers about what it means to be a Jew, in their responses there is a rich sense of how being Jewish reflects on their aesthetics and practices as poets, and how the tradition of the avant-garde informs their identities as Jews. Fragmented identities, irony, skepticism, a sense of self as "other" or "outsider," distrust of the literal, and belief in a tradition that questions rather than answers--these are some of the qualities these poets see as common to themselves, the poetry they make, and the tradition they work within.
Publication Date: 2009-11-15
Modern Jewish Women Writers in America by This collection includes groundbreaking essays, and interviews with scholars and writers which reveal that despite pressures of assimilation, personal goals, and in some cases, anti-Semitism, they have never been able to divorce their lives or literature from their heritage.
Publication Date: 2007-05-15
Exiles on Main Street by How have Jews reshaped their identities as Jews in the face of the radical newness called America? Julian Levinson explores the ways in which exposure to American literary culture--in particular the visionary tradition identified with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman--led American Jewish writers to a new understanding of themselves as Jews. Discussing the lives and work of writers such as Emma Lazarus, Mary Antin, Ludwig Lewisohn, Waldo Frank, Anzia Yezierska, I. J. Schwartz, Alfred Kazin, and Irving Howe, Levinson concludes that their interaction with American culture led them to improvise new and meaningful ways of being Jewish. In contrast to the often expressed view that the diaspora experience leads to assimilation, Exiles on Main Street traces an arc of return to Jewish identification and describes a vital and creative Jewish American literary culture.
Publication Date: 2008-07-02
The Writer Uprooted by The Writer Uprooted is the first book to examine the emergence of a new generation of Jewish immigrant authors in America, most of whom grew up in formerly communist countries. In essays that are both personal and scholarly, the contributors to this collection chronicle and clarify issues of personal and cultural dislocation and loss, but also affirm the possibilities of reorientation and renewal. Writers, poets, translators, and critics such as Matei Calinescu, Morris Dickstein, Henryk Grynberg, Geoffrey Hartman, Eva Hoffman, Katarzyna Jerzak, Dov-Ber Kerler, Norman Manea, Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Lara Vapnyar, and Bronislava Volkova describe how they have coped creatively with the trials of displacement and the challenges and opportunities of resettlement in a new land and, for some, authorship in a new language.
Publication Date: 2008-06-18
Crisis and Covenant by 1. Introduction: Jewish Existence Covenant Transformations Covenant and Modernity The Contemporary Covenantal Crisis Literary Response to Covenant Crisis American Judaism and the Holocaust Contributions of American Jewish Holocaust Novelists 2. Holocaust as Watershed Holocaust Problematics Theological Responses Theology and Literature Is the Holocaust Beyond Artistic Expression? Who Should Write of the Holocaust? Trivializing the Holocaust American Jewish Writers and the Holocaust: A Critique The Role of the American Jewish Novelist 3. Holocaust Responses I: Judaism as a Religious Value System The Holocaust and American Diaspora Jewry Hasidic Tales Considering the Evidence Arthur A. Cohen Cynthia Ozick Hugh Nissenson Elie Wiesel Isaac B. Singer Conclusion 4. Holocaust Responses II: Judaism as a Secular Value System Considering the Evidence Bernard Malamud Saul Bellow Susan F. Schaeffer Cynthia Ozick Pre-Holocaust America: Jewish Existence and Covenant Diminishment Hugh Nissenson Robert Kotlowitz Conclusion 5. Holocaust Responses III: Symbolic Judaism Considering the Evidence Philip Roth Richard Elman Edward Lewis Wallant Norma Rosen Bernard Malamud Conclusion 6. Holocaust and Covenant The Central Question for Contemporary Judaism Holocaust Fiction Lato Sensu Problems and Possibilities Notes Index
Publication Date: 1985-10-01