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Selected Books for Jewish American Heritage Month
History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage by
Call Number: E184.35 .W418 2010
Publication Date: 2010
Most American Jews today will probably tell you that Judaism is inherently democratic and that Jewish and American cultures share the same core beliefs and values. But in fact, Jewish tradition and American culture did not converge seamlessly. Rather, it was American Jews themselves who consciously created this idea of an American Jewish heritage and cemented it in the popular imagination during the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. History Lessons is the first book to examine how Jews in the United States collectively wove themselves into the narratives of the nation, and came to view the American Jewish experience as a unique chapter in Jewish history.
Dixie Diaspora: An Anthology of Southern Jewish History by
Call Number: F220.J5 D59 2006
Publication Date: 2006
This book is an anthology of essays designed to introduce readers to key issues in a growing field of scholarship and to encourage further study. The essays cover a broad geographical and chronological span and address a variety of topics, including economics, politics, roles of women, ethnicity, and race. This organizational structure enhances the volume's historical treatment of regional Jewish history and lends itself to cross-disciplinary study in fields such as cultural studies, religious studies, and political science.
America's Jewish Women: A History From Colonial Times to Today by
Call Number: HQ1172 .N33 2020
Publication Date: 2020
What does it mean to be a Jewish woman in America? In a gripping historical narrative, Pamela S. Nadell weaves together the stories of a diverse group of extraordinary people--from the colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to labor organizer Bessie Hillman and the great justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to scores of other activists, workers, wives, and mothers who helped carve out a Jewish American identity.The twin threads binding these women together, she argues, are a strong sense of self and a resolute commitment to making the world a better place.
Passing Fancies in Jewish American Literature and Culture by
Call Number: e-book
Publication Date: 2019
This scholarly study explores the conflicting forces of assimilation and cultural heritage in literary portrayals of Jewish American identity. Ruderman takes on the fraught question of who passes for Jewish in American literature and culture. In today's contemporary political climate, religious and racial identities are being reconceived as responses to culture and environment, rather than essential qualities. Many Jews continue to hold conflicting ideas about their identity, seeking deep engagement with Jewish history and the experiences of the Jewish people while holding steadfastly to the understanding that identity is fluid and multivalent.
Doing Business in America: A Jewish History by
Call Number: e-book
Publication Date: 2018
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.
Dispersing the Ghetto: The Relocation of Jewish Immigrants Across America by
Call Number: e-book (print copy: E184.353 .G53 2005)
Publication Date: 2006
In the early 20th century, the population of New York City's Lower East Side swelled with vast numbers of eastern European Jewish immigrants. The tenements, whose inhabitants faced poverty and frequent unemployment, provoked the hostile attention of immigration restrictionists, many of whom disdained Jews, racial minorities, and foreigners as inferior. Accordingly, they aimed to stifle the growth of dense ethnic settlements by curtailing immigration. Dispersing the Ghetto is the first book to describe in detail an important but little-known chapter in American immigration history, that of the Industrial Removal Office (IRO), founded in 1901.
From the Lower East Side to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular Culture by
Call Number: PN1590.J48 B84 2004
Publication Date: 2004
The contribution by Jews to American popular culture is widely acknowledged yet scarcely documented. This is the first comprehensive investigation of the formative Jewish influence upon the rise and development of American popular culture, drawing upon extensive oral histories with several generations of Jewish artists, little-utilized Yiddish scholarship, and the author's own connections with today's comic-strip artists. Buhle shows how the rich legacy of Yiddish prepared would-be artists to absorb the cultures of their surrounding environments, seeing the world through the eyes of others, and producing the talent required for theater, films, television, popular music and comics.
American Judaism: A History by
Call Number: e-book (print copy: BM205 .S26 2004)
Publication Date: 2005
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? Sarna tells the story of individuals struggling to remain Jewish while also becoming American.
Jewish-American Artists and the Holocaust by
Call Number: N6538.J4 B35 1997
Publication Date: 1997
Jewish themes in American art were not very visible until the last two decades, although many famous twentieth-century artists and critics were and are Jewish. Few artists responded openly to the Holocaust until the 1960s, when it finally began to act as a galvanizing force, allowing Jewish-American artists to express their Jewish identity in their work. Baigell describes how artists initially deflected their responses into abstract forms or by invoking biblical and traditional figures and then in more recent decades confronted directly Holocaust imagery and memory. He traces the development of artistic work from the late 1930s to the present in a moving study of a long overlooked topic in the history of American art.
Jews in American Politics by
Call Number: E184.36.P64 J49 2001
Publication Date: 2001
Joseph Lieberman's Vice Presidential nomination was neither the first nor last word on signal Jewish achievements in American politics. Jews have played an important role in American government since the early 1800s at least, and in view of the 2000 election, there is no political office outside the reach of Jewish American citizens. For the first time, Jews in American Politics brings together a complete picture of the past, present, and future of Jewish political participation.
Jewish American Heritage Month
May is Jewish American Heritage Month – On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The resolutions passed unanimously, first in the House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the Senate in February 2006.