American Jewish History
ISSN / EISSN: 01640178 / 10863141
Published by: Project Muse
Total articles ≅ 10,625
Latest articles in this journal
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 203-205; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0018
Jessica L. Carr's highly analytic book aims at understanding Jewish Americans' self-image from the beginning of the twentieth century up to the Second World War through their visual culture of the "Hebrew Orient," the term she uses for Jewish Americans' view of Palestine. The author assumes that the self-image is well reflected through viewing others and aims to explore multiple self-images and identities, particularly in terms of cultural and gender identities. A broad systematic introduction depicting the analytic approach of the author explains the aims, major terms, and concepts used in the book. It is here that the term "visual culture" is defined as "everything that the eye can see, as well as mental processes brought at the moment of seeing" (13). The book is full of illustrations, photographs, and other images presented and analyzed in depth. Chapter 1, "'The Orient' as Jewish Heritage" discusses the book's key term "Hebrew (or Jewish) Orient" in vast detail. The author highlights the "Hebrew Orient" as a tool to reveal American Jews' cultural self-image through viewing their understanding of their "Hebrew Oriental" Jewish heritage and the contemporary inhabitants (pioneers, Mizrahim, and Arabs) of Palestine. This is the raison d'être of the author's preference for using the term Hebrew Orient rather than Palestine.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 216-218; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0026
Most of the literature on the western liberal democracies and the Jews during the Nazi era is "top down," with the focus on how governments and their state apparatus responded (or failed to respond), especially through refugee policy. A "grassroots" approach, and one focusing especially on the American and British Jewish minorities, is thus greatly to be welcomed. Stephen Norwood is also to be congratulated on the scale of his research, examining a range of archives in the US and the U.K., supplemented by extensive newspaper and contemporary printed sources. There is, for example, recognition in this book of the remarkable role of the Manchester Guardian in reporting in daily detail of the plight of German Jewry during the 1930s. This continued during the Second World War and would merit a full-length study in itself.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 227-229; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0030
Dara E. Goldman, associate professor in the department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and director of the Program in Jewish Studies and Culture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), passed away unexpectedly on May 13, 2022 at the age of fifty-one. She was preparing to travel to the Biennial Scholars Conference of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) at Tulane University the following day. As one of the members of the planning committee for the AJHS meeting, dedicated to the theme of "Building Bridges in the Americas," Goldman was also scheduled to present a paper titled "Goulash and Plátanos: Sosua and the Myth of Dominican Whiteness," which in typical fashion addressed her passionate interests in Caribbean, Jewish, Latin American, and race studies. Dara was also putting together a special issue of Shofar on Jewishness and the Caribbean, based on a symposium she had co-organized at UIUC in 2021.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 212-214; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0024
Sitting on my desk is an impressive pile of books about Henrietta Szold, a woman history clearly has not forgotten. Hacohen's task in writing a Szold biography, thus, was not to introduce us to Szold but to broaden or deepen our already existing understanding.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 143-175; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0019
In 1733, Abigail Minis sailed across the Atlantic with her husband, Abraham, as part of the first contingent of Jews from England to Savannah, Georgia. She juggled raising a family while helping Abraham conduct business. He gave Abigail legal control of his enterprises when he died, and they flourished under her leadership as never before. Because Abigail never remarried, she maintained her agency. She expanded the land holdings she inherited from her husband exponentially. She also ran a popular tavern that served as an important meeting place for businesspeople and political figures. The tavern used products from her plantations, and the plantations also provided building materials for her urban real estate investments. A patriot during the American Revolution, she fled to Charleston while the British occupied Georgia. Yet her political and business contacts shielded her property in Georgia from confiscation. Informed by the important role of women in the family economy over generations, her blending of agriculture and business is an important illustration of key themes in this essay: in a region dominated by a cash-crop farming economy, the Jews who pursued agriculture did so almost always in line with their regular commercial activities.
American Jewish History, Volume 106; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0021
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 205-207; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0017
From Sarah to Sydney chronicles the life of Sydney Taylor (1904-1978), née Sarah Brenner, who was instrumental in making Jewishness a relatively accepted part of American life. Born in New York City to immigrant parents from Germany, she was the third of seven children, the first five of whom were girls who became principal characters in the All-of-a-Kind-Family books. Published between 1951 and 1978 and based on Taylor's own childhood on the Lower East Side and in the Bronx, they were the first mainstream books for children featuring Jewish characters. Before this time, small Jewish presses published biblical and holiday stories for an almost exclusively Jewish readership, but Jews were never featured protagonists in the books available to most American children. So important was Taylor's role in children's literature that the signature award for Jewish-American children's literature would come to be named in her honor.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 210-211; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0023
Jaclyn Granick's meticulous and compelling monograph is an important contribution to contemporary Jewish history and to the international history of World War I and the postwar era. Adding substantially to Zosa Szajkowski's earlier studies, Granick, drawing on her extensive archival research, not only places the overseas work led by American Jews in a very large diplomatic, political, social, and economic framework but also elucidates its challenges, accomplishments, and uniqueness.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 214-216; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0025
In his introduction to Meir Kahane, a "cultural biography" of the Brooklyn-based Orthodox rabbi and Jewish Press columnist who, in 1968, cofounded a paramilitary organization called the Jewish Defense League (JDL), Shaul Magid asserts that there has been an impulse to "expunge" his eponymous subject from "our narratives about American Jewish culture and history" (1, 5). This "untold chapter in the radicalism of race, ethnicity, and identity politics in the 1960s and 1970s" has been erased, Magid proposes, because historians "are embarrassed by Kahane and refuse to view him as a noteworthy figure even though until the mid- to late 1970s he was ubiquitous on the national stage" (6). To correct this, Magid charts Kahane's tumultuous public career from his early New York days to his violent death in Israel.
American Jewish History, Volume 106, pp 220-222; https://doi.org/10.1353/ajh.2022.0028
The continuing economic development of Imperial Russia and the pre-1880s state policy of "civilizing" Jewish subjects through luring them into general education prepared ever larger numbers of Jews to give up their traditional ways and live a life culturally compatible with that of the urban Christian population. A very small minority even converted to Christianity and thus emancipated themselves from the stifling legal restrictions placed upon adherents of Judaism. However, hundreds of the converts later officially returned to Judaism after realizing that conversion did not alleviate the stigma of their origin. A new stratum of [End Page 220] people, with one leg in traditional society and the other in the non-Jewish world, arose in Russia. Not only state school and university graduates steeped in Russian culture belonged to this stratum. The same or nearby social space was populated by "semi-intelligentsia" (54). This snobby tag described haphazardly educated autodidacts, many of them renegade Talmudic students.