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Book Notes American Jewish Life BOOK NOTES 177 American Judaism in Transition: The Secularization of a Religious Community, by Gerhard Falk. Lanham, MD: University Press ofAmerica, 1995. 432 pp. $64.50 (c); $44.50 (P). ISBN 0-7618-0015-8 (c); 0-76180016 -6 (P). This book describes how American Jews changed from living in a religion-oriented community to living a secular life. The author discusses howJewish Americans were influenced by the secularization of Western civilization in general and by the Christian community in Europe and America specifically. The secularization of American Jewish institutions is analyzed by discussing changes in the Jewish religion, Jewish education, and Jewish organizations during this century. Special consideration is given to the issue ofJewish survival in America with specific emphasis on the Jewish-Christian intermarriage rate. Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot, by Michael Rogin. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. 336 pp. $24.95 (c). ISBN 0-520-20407-7. The tangled connections that have bound Jews to African Americans in popular culture and liberal politics are at the heart of Michael Rogin's book. ImmigrantJews inherited the blackface role in vaudeville , Tin Pan Alley, and Hollywood, and blackface, either literal or figurative, became a rite of passage to "white" America. Rogin explores blackface in Hollywood films as an opening to broader issues: the nature of "white" identity in America, the role of race in transforming immigrants into"Americans," and the social importance of popular culture. Insecure Prosperity: Small-TownJews in Industrial America, 1890-1940, by Ewa Morawska. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. 369 pp. $35.00. ISBN: 0-691-03735-3. This story of the Jewish community in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, reveals a pattern of adaptation to American life different from that followed by Jewish immigrants in metropolitan areas. The Jewish Johnstowners created in the economy a tightly knit ethnic entrepre- 178 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 neurial niche and achieved a satisfactory standard of living against the recurrent slumps in local mills and coal mines. Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentietb-Century American Intellectual History, by David A. Hollinger. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. 178 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-691-01143-5. Focusing in the decades from the 1930s through the 1960s, David Hollinger discusses the scientists, social scientists, philosophers, and historians who fought the Christian biases that kept Jews from fully participating in American intellectual life. Ancient World and Archaeology Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, edited by Jack Sasson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1995. 2,400 pp. in 4 vols. $449.00. ISBN 0-68419279 -9. Over 180 original essays are collected in this 4-volume set that examines the cultures of the ancient Near East from the Bronze Age (3200 BCE) to the Hellenistic era (325 BCE). Among the cultures described are those of North Africa (Egypt, Nubia, and Carthage), Syria, Canaan, Anatolia, Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria), Arabia, Iran, and Central Asia. The volumes describe the physical environment, reconstruct ancient cultures, and evaluate their impact on the modern world. The Spiritual History of the Dead Sea Sect, by David Flusser. Woodstock, Vf: Jewish lights, 1996.98 pp. $12.95 (p). ISBN 965-05-0480-3. This introduction delves into the spiritual world of the Essenes and their unique world view. Art and Music And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Historic Synagogues of the World, photographs and commentary by Neil Folberg, historical essay byYom Tov Assis. New York: Aperture, 1995. 176 pp. 195 color plates and illustrations . $50.00. ISBN 0-78381-640-X. Neil Folberg documents not only the beauty, diverSity, and complexity of the synagogues of the Diaspora, but also the spiritual reverence which they reflect. AJewish Album, by Wisna lipszyc. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 1993. 60 pp. $22.00 (libraries $32.00). ISBN 83-01-11107-0. Order from: Book Notes 179 Bette S. Feinstein, Bookseller, 96 Roundwood Rd., Newton, MA 02164; Phone/fax: (617) 969-0942. Reproductions of 118 fuU-color paintings and two lino-prints illustrate the history and culture of the Jewish people with a special focus on Poland. The captions and introduction are in both Polish and English...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 177-215
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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