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Brandeis University Press
Imagining the American Jewish Community / Edition 1

Imagining the American Jewish Community / Edition 1

by Jack Wertheimer


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781584656708
Publisher: Brandeis University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2007
Series: Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

JACK WERTHEIMER is Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. He is the editor of Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice (2007) and Imagining the American Jewish Community (2008). This research project was sponsored by the AVI CHAI Foundation.

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

What People are Saying About This

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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