Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.30
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 85%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $4.30   
  • New (6) from $13.73   
  • Used (4) from $4.30   


Levi Strauss, A.L. Gump, Yehudi Menuhin, Gertrude Stein, Adolph Sutro, Congresswoman Florence Prag Kahn—Jewish people have been so enmeshed in life in and around San Francisco that their story is a chronicle of the metropolis itself. Since the Gold Rush, Bay Area Jews have countered stereotypes, working as farmers and miners, boxers and mountaineers. They were Gold Rush pioneers, Gilded Age tycoons, and Progressive Era reformers. Told through an astonishing range of characters and events, Cosmopolitans illuminates many aspects of Jewish life in the area: the high profile of Jewish women, extraordinary achievements in the business world, the cultural creativity of the second generation, the bitter debate about the proper response to the Holocaust and Zionism, and much more. Focusing in rich detail on the first hundred years after the Gold Rush, the book also takes the story up to the present day, demonstrating how unusually strong affinities for the arts and for the struggle for social justice have characterized this community even as it has changed over time. Cosmopolitans, set in the uncommonly diverse Bay Area, is a truly unique chapter of the Jewish experience in America.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to educator and historian Rosenbaum, Bay Area Jews have encountered relatively little anti-Semitism and have been deeply enmeshed in virtually every phase of local history since the Gold Rush. While Levi Strauss is arguably the city's standout entrepreneur and Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern its most celebrated musical prodigies, other Jews are also prominent. Both Judah Magnes, founder and first chancellor of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, and influential writer Gertrude Stein credited the cultural diversity of their Oakland youth for setting them on a path of personal freedom and intellectual honesty. A patrician businessman who championed the poor, women's suffrage and an improved fire department, San Francisco's Adolph Sutro became the first Jewish mayor of a major American city in 1894. Rose Pesotta, Elaine Black and Samuel Adams Darcy were militant union organizers; and Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978, became the first openly gay office holder in America. This is an absorbing and colorfully detailed story of a minority's outsized impact on its society, particularly in the spheres of the arts, business and politics. 38 b&w photos. (Dec.)
American Jewish History
“Will significantly enhance our knowledge of Jews in the Bay Area, especially their uniqueness among America’s Jewry.”
The Buffalo Jewish Review - Dr. Morton I. Teicher
“Excellent and thorough.”
Jewish Journal Of S.florida - Morton Teicher
“Excellent and thorough narrative.”
Western Historical Qtly - William Toll
“Rosenbaum has written a vibrant historical narrative.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520271302
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 984,744
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred Rosenbaum is the Founding Director of Lehrhaus Judaica, the largest school for adult Jewish education in the American West, and the author of Visions of Reform: Congregation Emanu-El and the jews of San Francisco, among other books. He has also taught modern Jewish history at the Graduate Theological Union, the University of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. Rosenbaum is the award-winning author of seven books on Bay Area Jewish history and the Holocaust including most recently, with Eva Libitzky, Out on a Ledge: Enduring the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Beyond.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Boomtown: Tumult and Triumph in Gold Rush San Francisco
2. Woven into the Fabric: The Confident Community of the Gilded Age
3. Rooted Cosmopolitans: The Cultural Creativity of the Second Generation
4. Eden on the Pacific: The Challenges to Judaism at the Turn of the Century
5. Healing California: Jewish Reformers and Revolutionaries in the Progressive Era
6. Trials: Firestorms and Corruption, Terrorism and World War
7. With a Yiddish Accent: East European Jewish Neighborhoods
8. Good Times: The Jewish Elite between the Wars
9. Both Sides of the Barricades: Jews and Class Conflict during the Depression
10. Cataclysms: Responses to the Holocaust and Zionism
Epilogue: Legacies of the First Century


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)