Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent
Rent from BN.com
$12.14
(Save 60%)
Est. Return Date: 06/17/2014
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$20.02
(Save 33%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $3.95   
  • New (4) from $25.26   
  • Used (12) from $3.95   

Overview

When Jewish neoconservatives burst upon the political scene, many people were surprised. Conventional wisdom held that Jews were uniformly liberal. This book explodes the myth of a monolithic liberal Judaism. Michael Staub tells the story of the many fierce battles that raged in postwar America over what the authentically Jewish position ought to be on issues ranging from desegregation to Zionism, from Vietnam to gender relations, sexuality, and family life. Throughout the three decades after 1945, Michael Staub shows, American Jews debated the ways in which the political commitments of Jewish individuals and groups could or should be shaped by their Jewishness. Staub shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the liberal position was never the obvious winner in the contest.

By the late 1960s left-wing Jews were often accused by their conservative counterparts of self-hatred or of being inadequately or improperly Jewish. They, in turn, insisted that right-wing Jews were deaf to the moral imperatives of both the Jewish prophetic tradition and Jewish historical experience, which obliged Jews to pursue social justice for the oppressed and the marginalized. Such declamations characterized disputes over a variety of topics: American anticommunism, activism on behalf of African American civil rights, imperatives of Jewish survival, Israel and Israeli-Palestinian relations, the 1960s counterculture, including the women's and gay and lesbian liberation movements, and the renaissance of Jewish ethnic pride and religious observance. Spanning these controversies, Staub presents not only a revelatory and clear-eyed prehistory of contemporary Jewish neoconservatism but also an important corrective to investigations of "identity politics" that have focused on interethnic contacts and conflicts while neglecting intraethnic ones.

Revising standard assumptions about the timing of Holocaust awareness in postwar America, Staub charts how central arguments over the Holocaust's purported lessons were to intra-Jewish political conflict already in the first two decades after World War II. Revisiting forgotten artifacts of the postwar years, such as Jewish marriage manuals, satiric radical Zionist cartoons, and the 1970s sitcom about an intermarried couple entitled Bridget Loves Bernie, and incidents such as the firing of a Columbia University rabbi for supporting anti-Vietnam war protesters and the efforts of the Miami Beach Hotel Owners Association to cancel an African Methodist Episcopal Church convention, Torn at the Roots sheds new light on an era we thought we knew well.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

JAAR
A window into just how complex the conservative - liberal split has been in the American Jewish community... It adds an important chapter to the story of what the American Jewish community is really like.

— Peter J. Haas

Journal of American History - Abraham J. Peck

[T]hrough Staub's book we have a much clearer and better appreciation for the depths of the intra-Jewish, internecine struggles that took place within the American Jewish community from the end of World War II until the end of the war in Vietnam. Torn at the Roots paints a sobering picture of a Jewish community torn by ideological conflict.

History - Pamela S. Nadell

Torn at the Roots contributes significantly to our understanding of what Jewish identity meant to different groups of American Jews, those marching on the left, sitting in the establishment's center, and leaning towards the conservative right in the decades after the Holocaust.

The Minnesota Review - Marjorie N. Feld

Staub's work is important precisely because it records the history of competing visions of Jewishness.

Jewish Quarterly Review - Beth Wenger

Staub's carefully researched and cogently argued book explores the evolution and complex dimensions of Jewish politics, calling into question many widely-held assumptions about Jewish liberalism.... [ Torn at the Roots] offer[s] new insights into the dimensions of Jewish culture in postwar America.

Journal of American Studies - Nathan Abrams

Another welcome addition to the already large literature on the suprisingly tenacious adherence of Jews to liberalism.

Journal of American Ethnic History - Marc Dollinger

Torn at the Roots will force important and powerful historiographic changes. It is a rich, well-researched, and intricate study.

Jewish Post of New York - Gad Nahshon

a vibrant history of the liberal quest for improving the world

JAAR - Peter J. Haas

A window into just how complex the conservative - liberal split has been in the American Jewish community... It adds an important chapter to the story of what the American Jewish community is really like.

Tikkun Magazine

Jewish liberalism and its history is a familiar subject, but this book by Michael Staub offers a great deal of new insight and information; indeed, it is arguably the best treatment of the rightward drift of the Jewish mainstream from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

Journal of American History
[T]hrough Staub's book we have a much clearer and better appreciation for the depths of the intra-Jewish, internecine struggles that took place within the American Jewish community from the end of World War II until the end of the war in Vietnam. Torn at the Roots paints a sobering picture of a Jewish community torn by ideological conflict.

— Abraham J. Peck

History
Torn at the Roots contributes significantly to our understanding of what Jewish identity meant to different groups of American Jews, those marching on the left, sitting in the establishment's center, and leaning towards the conservative right in the decades after the Holocaust.

— Pamela S. Nadell

Choice

[Staub] challenges commonly held notions regarding the purported liberalism of US Jewry while underscoring the growing importance of spirituality for left-of-center Jews... This is an important work... highly recommended.

American Jewish History

Masterful... A vibrant history of the liberal quest for improving the world, a history relevant for the present and future, and one which deserves wide reading and discussion.

The Minnesota Review
Staub's work is important precisely because it records the history of competing visions of Jewishness.

— Marjorie N. Feld

Jewish Quarterly Review
Staub's carefully researched and cogently argued book explores the evolution and complex dimensions of Jewish politics, calling into question many widely-held assumptions about Jewish liberalism.... [ Torn at the Roots] offer[s] new insights into the dimensions of Jewish culture in postwar America.

— Beth Wenger

Journal of American Studies
Another welcome addition to the already large literature on the suprisingly tenacious adherence of Jews to liberalism.

— Nathan Abrams

Journal of American Ethnic History
Torn at the Roots will force important and powerful historiographic changes. It is a rich, well-researched, and intricate study.

— Marc Dollinger

Jewish Post of New York
a vibrant history of the liberal quest for improving the world

— Gad Nahshon

Library Journal
Staub (English and American studies, Bowling Green State Univ.) explores divisions within Jewish liberalism during the Sixties and into the Seventies, showing that Jews have long differed in their stances on political issues. Chapters examine such key topics as Jewish attitudes toward the sexual revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War. Staub shows that the initial Jewish response was often very different from what one might expect. Instead of being uniformly liberal, many Jews felt uncomfortable with the seemingly radical role embraced by Vietnam War peace demonstrators. The Jewish community in this country could be very complacent about Jewish identity, and it wasn't until the Six Day War in 1967 that many Jews began having a greater feeling of Jewish identity and pride. Staub also discusses the role of Jews in civil rights, which was often very ambivalent; many northern Jews professing liberal ideals felt weary about pushing Jews in the conservative South to greater action. Staub's book will be best appreciated by an academic audience and is recommended for libraries with strong holdings in Jewish studies or in the social sciences. Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231123754
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2004
  • Series: Religion and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.72 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael E. Staub teaches English and American Studies at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Voices of Persuasion: Politics of Representation in 1930s America. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Making my Jewishness too visible"1. "The racists of America fly blindly at both of us": Atrocity Analogies and Anticommunism2. "Liberal Judaism is a contradiction in terms": Anti-Racist Zionists, Prophetic Jews, and their Critics3. "Artificial altruism sows only seeds of error and chaos": Desegregation and Jewish Survival4. "Protect and keep": Vietnam, Israel, and the Politics of Theology5. "If there was dirty linen, it had to be washed": Jews for Urban Justice and Radical Judaism6. "We are coming home": New Left Jews and Radical Zionism7. "Are you against the Jewish family?": Debating the Sexual Revolution8. "If we really care about Israel": Breira and the Limits of Dissent

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)