Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

In his introduction to the anthology Essential Papers on Jews and the Left, Ezra Mendelsohn, a historian of Eastern European Jewry and its worldwide diaspora, noted that the “left, however it is defined, has had a profound impact upon the modern Jewish community.” It has, in all its varieties, constituted a salient and at times controversial feature of modern Jewish life. It may even provide a basic continuity to Jewish political history in the modern period, as affiliation with the Left ostensibly relates individuals and communities across time and...

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1 - Alexander Bittelman, the Communist Party,and the First Generation

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pp. 11-66

Alexander Bittelman was a laborer and radical activist in the Russian empire as well as an immigrant to the United States in the early twentieth century. Some aspects of his upbringing and resettlement overseas were shared by most of the First Generation of American Jews of Eastern European provenance. As a prominent and important figure within the American Communist Party—its chief theorist in his own and others’ estimation—he was extreme in his commitment and convictions, yet not entirely unlike many of his peers in the United States...

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2 - The American Jewish Congressand the Second Generation

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pp. 67-122

The American Jewish Congress was founded by members of the First Generation along with individuals of German or Central European background. In due time it became a significant institution of the Second Generation, reflecting much of the experience and representing many of the concerns of the children of the Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Its most active and successful years—after the Second World War and through the 1960s—coincided with the maturation of the great...

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3 - New Jewish Agenda and the Third Generation

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pp. 123-158

New Jewish Agenda (NJA) came together in the summer of 1979 and was active from 1980 to 1992 as a “Jewish voice among progressives and a progressive voice among Jews.”1 The various local chapters of NJA were staffed and attended by a “diverse group of people [who] spanned several generations, and included students, professionals, Jewish secularists, the religiously observant, those with backgrounds in the non-Jewish Left, and people with strong ties to major Jewish organizations.”2 Notwithstanding this demographic variety, most of its leading...

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Conclusion

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pp. 159-164

The marked left-wing bias of American Jews typified most of the twentieth century. It has also persisted into the twenty-first. Throughout the 1990s Jewish support for Democratic presidents went up from the level of the 1980s rather than down. Just days before the 2008 presidential elections, in which the Democrat Barack Obama faced off against the Republican John McCain, a survey of American Jewry’s intentions at the ballot box confirmed the persistence of the “curvilinear pattern” of their political expression. Those many Jews who...

Notes

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pp. 165-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-226

Index

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pp. 227-229