Imagining the American Jewish Community / Edition 1

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Waltham 2007 Softcover First Edition. 392 pages. Softcover. Brand new book. JUDAICA. A lively collection of sixteen essays on the many ways American Jews have imagined and ... constructed communities. Since their arrival on these shores over 350 years ago, American Jews who have wished to maintain a Jewish communal life have faced a set of novel challenges. Throughout their history in the U.S., Jews have been free to embrace or eschew communal involvement; to support or ignore Jewish institutions; to associate with other Jews or to distance themselves from coreligionists. The dispersal of Jews across so vast a country has also posed serious challenges to Jewish unity. For these and other reasons examined in this volume, the group existence of Jews in the U.S. has depended on a variety of creative efforts to develop and sustain communities in the face of powerful pressures to disperse and assimilate. This volume explores the multiple conceptions of community in the American Jewish imagination. Essays by leadin Read more Show Less

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Overview

Since their arrival on these shores over 350 years ago, American Jews who have wished to maintain a Jewish communal life have faced a set of novel challenges. Throughout their history in the U.S., Jews have been free to embrace or eschew communal involvement; to support or ignore Jewish institutions; to associate with other Jews or to distance themselves from coreligionists. The dispersal of Jews across so vast a country has also posed serious challenges to Jewish unity. For these and other reasons examined in this volume, the group existence of Jews in the U.S. has depended on a variety of creative efforts to develop and sustain communities in the face of powerful pressures to disperse and assimilate.

This volume explores the multiple conceptions of community in the American Jewish imagination. Essays by leading scholars working in the fields of history, ethnography, material culture, literary criticism and Jewish thought uncover the underlying assumptions of those who continually redefined the Jewish community from colonial times to the present day. Topics include the notion of "synagogue-community" in prerevolutionary America, the role of commerce and business in nineteenth-century communal life, transnationalism and Jewish immigration, suburbanization, Jewish patriotism in wartime, sports and board games, Jewish literary classics, Jewish mothers, feminism,Yiddish schools, Jewish museums, and the communal possibilities of the internet.

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What People Are Saying

Michael A. Meyer
"In these pages sixteen leading historians reflect on old, new, and potential forms of American Jewish community. The result is a marvelous illumination of American Jewish solidarity from a variety of angles and perspectives."
Michael A. Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JACK WERTHEIMER is Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, and author of several books about American Judaism, including The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed (1995) and A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America (1999). Most recently, he is the editor of Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice (2007).
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Contributors

Reappraisals in American Jewish History Rethinking the Defi nition of "Community" for a 3 Migratory Age: 1654-1830 - Holly Snyder Buying and Selling "Jewish": The Historical Impact of Commerce on Jewish Communal Life - Hasia Diner Transnationalism and Americanization in East European Jewish Immigrant Public Life - Daniel Soyer Community and the Discourse of Elegy: The Postwar Suburban Debate - Riv-Ellen Prell

Community on Display War Stories: Jewish Patriotism on Parade - Beth S. Wenger Orthodoxy on Display in the Arena of Sports, 1920-2000 - Jeffrey S. Gurock Best-in-Show: American Jews, Museum Exhibitions, and the Search for Community - Jenna Weissman Joselit The "Be Virtuous!" Board Game: "Monopoly" in Contemporary Yiddish for Satmar Hasidic Girls - Marianne Sanua Mediating Community: American Jewry and the New Media of the Twentieth Century - Jeffrey Shandler

Women as Agents of Communal Reconfiguration The Limits of Imagination: White Christian Civilization and the Construction of American Jewish Womanhood in the 1890s - Karla Goldman
"They Raised Beautiful Families": Jewish Mothers' Child Rearing and Community Building - Joyce Antler Feminism and the American Jewish Community - Paula E. Hyman

Community and Culture Rereading the Americanization Narratives of Antin, Zangwill, and Cahan: Imagining and Unimagining the Jewish Community - Eli Lederhendler From Yiddishism to American Judaism: The Impact of American Yiddish Schools on Their Students - David E. Fishman The Accented Imagination: Speaking and Writing Jewish America - Hana Wirth-Nesher American Jewish Thought and the Imagination of American Jewish Community - Arnold Eisen

Index

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