Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 23.2 (2005) 188-213
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American Jewish Life
Jacob Rader Marcus (1896-1995) was called the Dean of American Jewish historians. He published more than 300 books and articles on the history of American Jews, and in 1947 he founded the American Jewish Archives, which he directed for almost fifty years. In this volume, Gary Philip Zola brings together an assortment of Marcus's unpublished essays, written for a popular audience between 1916 and 1989, which reflect Marcus's view that American Judaism will thrive and distinguish itself as long as Jewish education and Jewish cultural life become a high priority on the Jewish communal agenda. This collection enhances our understanding of how the ideas of one of American Jewry's pioneering historians evolved, while preserving historical documents that trace the development of American Jewish life over the course of the twentieth century.
Essays in this volume examine topics such as the relationship between German and Eastern European Jews in America, the development of the B'nai B'rith, 19th-century Jewish community-building in Chicago, the role of German Jews in the building of modern American show business, and the correlation between date of emigration and language loss among Jews fleeing to America from Nazi Germany.
After a brief overview of the Jews' migrations around Europe, the West Indies, and the North and South American continents, this book describes the hardships faced by the Jewish people, beginning with New Amsterdam and New York and continuing with discussions of their experiences in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New England, and the South. Subsequent chapters discuss antisemitism, slavery, and the Jews' transformation from immigrant status to American citizen. [End Page 188]
Lubavitcher Hasidim are famous for their efforts to inspire secular Jews to become more observant and for their messianic fervor. Strict followers of Orthodox Judaism, they maintain sharp gender-role distinctions. Stephanie Wellen Levine spent a year living in the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, participating in the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood. Drawing on many intimate hours among Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, she offers portraits of individual Hasidic young women and how they deal with the conflicts between the regimented society in which they live and the pull of mainstream American life.
Using primary materials from the careers of two Jewish women, northern newcomers Matilda "Bobbi" Graff and Shirley M. Zoloth, Raymond Mohl offers an original interpretation of the role of Jewish civil rights activists in promoting racial change in post-World War II Miami. His analysis substantiates the view of civil rights history that sees grassroots action as the engine that drove racial change.
In 1796, the Jews of St. Thomas founded the first Jewish congregation on this Caribbean island. The congregation numbered 64 families by the time the present synagogue was erected in 1833. It has since become the oldest synagogue...