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Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism
     

Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism

by Rebecca Kobrin (Editor), Jonathan Sarna (Contribution by), Daniel Soyer (Contribution by), Jeffrey Shandler (Contribution by), Jon Pollack (Contribution by)
 

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At which moments and in which ways did Jews play a central role in the development of American capitalism? Many popular writers address the intersection of Jews and capitalism, but few scholars, perhaps fearing this question’s anti-Semitic overtones, have pondered it openly. Chosen Capital represents the first historical collection devoted to this

Overview

At which moments and in which ways did Jews play a central role in the development of American capitalism? Many popular writers address the intersection of Jews and capitalism, but few scholars, perhaps fearing this question’s anti-Semitic overtones, have pondered it openly. Chosen Capital represents the first historical collection devoted to this question in its analysis of the ways in which Jews in North America shaped and were shaped by America’s particular system of capitalism. Jews fundamentally molded aspects of the economy during the century when American capital was being redefined by industrialization, war, migration, and the emergence of the United States as a superpower.

Surveying such diverse topics as Jews’ participation in the real estate industry, the liquor industry, and the scrap metal industry, as well as Jewish political groups and unions bent on reforming American capital, such as the American Labor Party and the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, contributors to this volume provide a new prism through which to view the Jewish encounter with America. The volume also lays bare how American capitalism reshaped Judaism itself by encouraging the mass manufacturing and distribution of foods like matzah and the transformation of synagogue cantors into recording stars. These essays force us to rethink not only the role Jews played in American economic development but also how capitalism has shaped Jewish life and Judaism over the course of the twentieth century.

 

Contributors:

Marni Davis, Georgia State University

Phyllis Dillon, independent documentary producer, textile conservator, museum curator

Andrew Dolkart, Columbia University

Andrew Godley, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Jonathan Karp, executive director, American Jewish Historical Society

Daniel Katz, Empire State College, State University of New York

Ira Katznelson, Columbia University

David S. Koffman, New York University

Eli Lederhendler, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Jonathan Z. S. Pollack, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Jonathan D. Sarma, Brandeis University

Jeffrey Shandler, Rutgers University

Daniel Soyer, Fordham University

Editorial Reviews

Choice

"a helpful addition to the literature. Recommended."
Jewish Book World
"Fascinating. While each of the essays is scholarly and carefully researched, they are also most engrossing, make for enjoyable reading, and shed new light on the Jewish experience in America."
Tony Michels
"The essays in Chosen Capital break new ground in the study of Jews and their relationship to American capitalism. The ideas and information presented in this exciting volume greatly expand our knowledge of a highly important, yet understudied, subject."
University of Wisconsin, Madison - Tony Michels

"The essays in Chosen Capital break new ground in the study of Jews and their relationship to American capitalism. The ideas and information presented in this exciting volume greatly expand our knowledge of a highly important, yet understudied, subject."
The Journal of American History

"...the essays of Chosen Capital do much to jump-start an emerging field—most importantly by identifying niche economies."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813553085
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
08/20/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
943,859
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
17 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

 REBECCA KOBRIN is the Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History at Columbia University. She has published widely on issues concerning American Jewish history and East European Jewish migration and is the author of Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

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