Jews in New Mexico Since World War II
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
My previous volume, A History of the Jews in New Mexico, which appeared in 1990, ended its historical coverage roughly in 1980. No special event occurred at that time to clearly demarcate that date as the end of an era. Publication considerations as to length, ready documentation—such as the...
The aid an author receives in producing a manuscript is sometimes not readily appreciated—often by those who provided assistance. As I have discovered, the closer a historical study comes to the present the more one comes to rely on persons who have lived through the era under description. ...
1: Historical Background
Modern Jewish settlement in New Mexico began with the American occupation and annexation in the last half of the 1840s in what is now known as the American Southwest. From that time until 1880 the Jewish arrivals were heavily Germanic (Ashkenazic) immigrants in origin and frequently related...
2: Population Growth, 1940–2000
One factor that contributed powerfully to change in New Mexico after World War II lay in its considerable population increase. From over a half-million in 1940, the last census prior to the war, its numbers doubled by 1970, the halfway point...
3: Social and Economic Change
For New Mexico, the war produced changes that dramatically altered its economic and social complexion. One early and strong component of those changes lay in the new purposes that the federal government introduced during the war and the continued and strengthened support of those purposes after the war. ...
4: The Growth of Secular Organizations
The earliest Jewish religious and social organizations came into existence in New Mexico in the 1880s—about forty years after the first Ashkenazic Jews settled in the new American territory. However, it was nearly a century after their original arrival before national secular organizations began to make a serious mark on the New Mexico Jewish population. ...
5: Congregational Growth and Religious Change
In 1940 a New Mexico Historical Records Survey prepared a “Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations in New Mexico.” Evidence of three Jewish congregations reached the directory’s researchers: Congregation Montefiore, founded in 1884 in Las Vegas but essentially dormant by 1940; Congregation Albert, founded in 1897 in Albuquerque; ...
6: Interfaith Activity
For all Jews, the end of World War II brought an increased sense of urgency. The Holocaust and the creation and survival of Israel formed the central foci for their new concerns. A number of Christian churches also chose to reconsider their attitudes and relationship toward Jews as a result of these events. Out of these conditions a whole new dimension of interaction between Jews and Christians arose.
Jews almost everywhere have faced problems throughout their history based on the fact of their religious distinction and small numbers. These factors have shaped the legal, economic, and social character of their lives. Their experience in the United States voided any legal disabilities but left them with a social distinctiveness. World War II raised their consciousness as to both the dangers and the hopes of their condition.
8: The Jewish Presence
The modest self-identification that characterized the behavior of the prewar Jews operated to obscure their presence. It was after World War II, as noted, that Jewish newcomers became aware of a Jewish past in New Mexico and served as the principal agents to bring it to light. The perceived new demands they made upon themselves in New Mexico, fostered by their new problems...
Conclusions and Afterthoughts
For Jewish residents living in New Mexico before World War II, as for all other New Mexicans, the changes brought about by the war must have been astonishing. How could they have conceived of a Los Alamos and what it brought in its wake! One could say the same for the Sandia Corporation or Kirtland Field...
Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 22 halftones
Publication Year: 2008
OCLC Number: 631907646
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