It would be impossible to write a history of Chicago without citing the contributions of its large, dynamic Jewish population. During the 19th century, over a quarter million Jewish immigrants flocked to the city from almost every country in Europe and the Middle East. In this engaging narrative, Irving Cutler renders the story of this successful migration in both large scale and individual microcosms. More than 160 photographs enhance the realism of this inspiring chronicle.
This is the first history of this important community in American Jewry in more than seventy years and succeeds in capturing the flavor and detail of the people, life, culture, institutions and structure of Chicago's Jews. Cutler's volume is both scholarly and popular, comprehensive and readable and is an important addition to American Jewish scholarship.
The latest volume in the University of Illinois Press' Ethnic History of Chicago series offers a colorful picture of the growth and development of the Chicago Jewish community from its Old World roots to the present. Cutler begins with a section entitled "The First Wave," covering the Civil War period and the great Chicago fire and its aftermath. In "The Second Wave," Cutler focuses on eastern European Jewish emigrants and their role as Maxwell Street merchants, their benevolent societies, and the Yiddish theater. He also explores the Zionist and labor movements, Chicago's literary and music scenes, and changing neighborhoods and lifestyles in the last 50 years.
"Deserves a space not only on every Chicagoan's shelf, but on anyone's who is interested in the rich ethnic heritage of the Windy City."West Coast Jewish News
"A splendid study. . . . Presents the story with marvelous visual evidence, photo documentation, and superb ethnographic mapping of Jewish institutions in Chicago."American Jewish History
"Concise and thoughtfully written, The Jews of Chicago extends Chicago Jewish history . . . beyond any comparable history. It is a testament not merely to the impressive work that Cutler himself has done, but also to the community he chronicles."Chicago Jewish History
"A thought provoking history of the Jewish community's development in Chicago and its contribution to our city."Chicago Tribune
“Cutler does a masterful job of tracing the history of Chicago’s Jews from the German Jews who came in the 1830s and 1840s to the East European Jews who arrived in large numbers from 1880 to 1925.”Jerusalem Post