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

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Overview


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.
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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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520271302
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 444,500
  • 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.
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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
Notes
Index
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