Coming of Age in Jewish America

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Reinterpreted

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Author: Patricia Keer Munro

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 0813575958

Category: Religion

Page: 232

View: 5952

The Jewish practice of bar mitzvah dates back to the twelfth century, but this ancient cultural ritual has changed radically since then, evolving with the times and adapting to local conditions. For many Jewish-American families, a child’s bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is both a major social event and a symbolic means of asserting the family’s ongoing connection to the core values of Judaism. Coming of Age in Jewish America takes an inside look at bar and bat mitzvahs in the twenty-first century, examining how the practices have continued to morph and exploring how they serve as a sometimes shaky bridge between the values of contemporary American culture and Judaic tradition. Interviewing over 200 individuals involved in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, from family members to religious educators to rabbis, Patricia Keer Munro presents a candid portrait of the conflicts that often emerge and the negotiations that ensue. In the course of her study, she charts how this ritual is rife with contradictions; it is a private family event and a public community activity, and for the child, it is both an educational process and a high-stakes performance. Through detailed observations of Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and independent congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Munro draws intriguing, broad-reaching conclusions about both the current state and likely future of American Judaism. In the process, she shows not only how American Jews have forged a unique set of bar and bat mitzvah practices, but also how these rituals continue to shape a distinctive Jewish-American identity.

Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920

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Author: Melissa R. Klapper

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 9780814749340

Category: Religion

Page: 310

View: 7208

Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860—1920 draws on a wealth of archival material, much of which has never been published—or even read—to illuminate the ways in which Jewish girls’ adolescent experiences reflected larger issues relating to gender, ethnicity, religion, and education. Klapper explores the dual roles girls played as agents of acculturation and guardians of tradition. Their search for an identity as American girls that would not require the abandonment of Jewish tradition and culture mirrored the struggle of their families and communities for integration into American society. While focusing on their lives as girls, not the adults they would later become, Klapper draws on the papers of such figures as Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Edna Ferber, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Showboat; and Marie Syrkin, literary critic and Zionist. Klapper also analyzes the diaries, memoirs, and letters of hundreds of other girls whose later lives and experiences have been lost to history. Told in an engaging style and filled with colorful quotes, the book brings to life a neglected group of fascinating historical figures during a pivotal moment in the development of gender roles, adolescence, and the modern American Jewish community.

Jews and Booze

Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition

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Author: Marni Davis

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479882445

Category: History

Page: 272

View: 7506

From kosher wine to their ties to the liquor trade in Europe, Jews have a longstanding historical relationship with alcohol. But once prohibition hit America, American Jews were forced to choose between abandoning their historical connection to alcohol and remaining outside the American mainstream. In Jews and Booze, Marni Davis examines American Jews’ long and complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the years of the national prohibition movement’s rise and fall. Bringing to bear an extensive range of archival materials, Davis offers a novel perspective on a previously unstudied area of American Jewish economic activity—the making and selling of liquor, wine, and beer—and reveals that alcohol commerce played a crucial role in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the growth of Jewish communities in the United States. But prohibition’s triumph cast a pall on American Jews’ history in the alcohol trade, forcing them to revise, clarify, and defend their communal and civic identities, both to their fellow Americans and to themselves.

Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt

Female Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture

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Author: Eve Krakowski

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400887844

Category: Religion

Page: 360

View: 7766

Much of what we know about life in the medieval Islamic Middle East comes from texts written to impart religious ideals or to chronicle the movements of great men. How did women participate in the societies these texts describe? What about non-Muslims, whose own religious traditions descended partly from pre-Islamic late antiquity? Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt approaches these questions through Jewish women’s adolescence in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt and Syria (c. 969–1250). Using hundreds of everyday papers preserved in the Cairo Geniza, Eve Krakowski follows the lives of girls from different social classes—rich and poor, secluded and physically mobile—as they prepared to marry and become social adults. She argues that the families on whom these girls depended were more varied, fragmented, and fluid than has been thought. Krakowski also suggests a new approach to religious identity in premodern Islamic societies—and to the history of rabbinic Judaism. Through the lens of women’s coming-of-age, she demonstrates that even Jews who faithfully observed rabbinic law did not always understand the world in rabbinic terms. By tracing the fault lines between rabbinic legal practice and its practitioners’ lives, Krakowski explains how rabbinic Judaism adapted to the Islamic Middle Ages. Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt offers a new way to understand how women took part in premodern Middle Eastern societies, and how families and religious law worked in the medieval Islamic world.

Hungering for America

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Author: Hasia R. DINER

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674034259

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 9488

Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America's abundant food--its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer--reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the new land. "Hungering for America" tells the stories of three distinctive groups and their unique culinary dramas. Italian immigrants transformed the food of their upper classes and of sacred days into a generic "Italian" food that inspired community pride and cohesion. Irish immigrants, in contrast, loath to mimic the foodways of the Protestant British elite, diminished food as a marker of ethnicity. And, East European Jews, who venerated food as the vital center around which family and religious practice gathered, found that dietary restrictions jarred with America's boundless choices. These tales, of immigrants in their old worlds and in the new, demonstrate the role of hunger in driving migration and the significance of food in cementing ethnic identity and community. Hasia Diner confirms the well-worn adage, "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."

The Vanishing American Jew

In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century

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Author: Alan M. Dershowitz

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 9780446930505

Category: Religion

Page: 416

View: 575

In this urgent book, Alan M. Dershowitz shows why American Jews are in danger of disappearing - and what must be done now to create a renewed sense of Jewish identity for the next century. In previous times, the threats to Jewish survival were external - the virulent consequences of anti-Semitism. Now, however, in late-twentieth-century America, the danger has shifted. Jews today are more secure, more accepted, more assimilated, and more successful than ever before. They've dived into the melting pot - and they've achieved the American Dream. And that, according to Dershowitz, is precisely the problem. More than 50 percent of Jews will marry non-Jews, and their children will most often be raised as non-Jews. Which means, in the view of Dershowitz, that American Jews will vanish as a distinct cultural group sometime in the next century - unless they act now. Speaking to concerned Jews everywhere, Dershowitz calls for a new Jewish identity that focuses on the positive - the 3,500-year-old legacy of Jewish culture, values, and traditions. Dershowitz shows how this new Jewish identity can compete in America's open environment of opportunity and choice - and offers concrete proposals on how to instill it in the younger generation.

A New Promised Land

A History of Jews in America

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Author: Hasia R. Diner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199726561

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 184

View: 4577

"An excellent Afikoman gift for the teen or young adult at the seder... Diner...writes in a clear style that pulls together that diverse entity known as the American Jewish community."--The Chicago Jewish Star An engaging chronicle of Jewish life in the United States, A New Promised Land reconstructs the multifaceted background and very American adaptations of this religious group, from the arrival of twenty-three Jews in the New World in 1654, through the development of the Orthodox, conservative, and Reform movements, to the ordination of Sally Priesand as the first woman rabbi in the United States. Hasia Diner supplies fascinating details about Jewish religious traditions, holidays, and sacred texts. In addition, she relates the history of the Jewish religious, political, and intellectual institutions in the United States, and addresses some of the biggest issues facing Jewish Americans today, including their increasingly complex relationship with Israel.

Jew Vs. Jew

The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry

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Author: Samuel G. Freedman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0684859459

Category: Social Science

Page: 397

View: 2554

Explores the meaning of Judaism in America today, concluding that beneath its prosperous exterior, American Jews are bitterly divided along sectarian and political lines.

Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust

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Author: Planaria Price,Helen Reichmann West

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

ISBN: 0374305307

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Page: 272

View: 6473

A Junior Library Guild selection Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight. Meet Barbara Reichmann, once known as Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrko ́w Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself. Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs Listen to Barbara's oral testimony here: https://sfi.usc.edu/video/barbara-reichmann

Jewish American Literature

A Norton Anthology

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Author: Jules Chametzky

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393048094

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 1221

View: 517

Selections cover three centuries of Jewish contributing voices to American letters, including those of Arthur Miller, Tillie Olsen, Bernard Malamud, Allen Ginsberg, Cynthia Ozick, and Philip Roth.

13 and a Day

The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America

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Author: Mark Oppenheimer

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780374106652

Category: Religion

Page: 256

View: 2410

Presents the story of the author's journeys across America to attend the most distinctive b'nai mitzvah he could find in order to reveal how the bar and the bat mitzvah have become a distinctively American rite of passage.

Out of the Shadow

A Russian Jewish Girlhood on the Lower East Side

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Author: Rose Cohen

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 0801471427

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 336

View: 3701

In this appealing autobiography, Rose Cohen looks back on her family's journey from Tsarist Russia to New York City's Lower East Side. Her account of their struggles and of her own coming of age in a complex new world vividly illustrates what was, for some, the American experience. First published in 1918, Cohen's narrative conveys a powerful sense of the aspirations and frustrations of an immigrant Jewish family in an alien culture. With uncommon frankness, Cohen reports her youthful impressions of daily life in the tenements and of working conditions in garment sweatshops and domestic service. She introduces a large cast, including her co-workers, employers, mentors, family members, and friends. In simple yet moving terms, she recalls how, while confronting setbacks caused by poor health and dilemmas posed by courtship, she finds opportunities to educate herself. She also records the gradual weakening of her family's commitment to religion as they find their way from the shadow of poverty toward the mainstream of American life.

America's Soul in Balance

The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, and the Moral Disgrace of an American Aristocracy

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Author: Gregory Wallance

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group

ISBN: 1608322947

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 4203

After America entered World War II, a genuine opportunity arose to save at least 70,000 Romanian Jews who had been deported to the killing fields of Transnistria. This title presents the true story of the senior officials of the US State Department at the height of World War II, whom some accused of being accomplices of Hitler.

The Wonders of America

Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880-1950

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Author: Jenna Weissman Joselit

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780805070026

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 5746

A cultural study draws on advertisements, etiquette manuals, sermons, and surveys, offering insight into how many modern Jewish-American observances have been adapted and developed into distinctive forms of expression. Reprint.

Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004

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Author: Ben Furnish

Publisher: Peter Lang

ISBN: 9780820461977

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 188

View: 1248

Nostalgia, a bittersweet yearning for the past, is an important element in Jewish-American performances of the late twentieth century. Numerous plays and films of this time use nostalgia to engage Jewish, including Yiddish, cultural themes and images. Nostalgia offers audiences a window through which to examine past and current social changes. These include American Jews' departure from Europe to America, the city for the suburbs, Yiddish for English, as well as the civil rights, women's, peace, and gay and lesbian movements, and other transformations. These performances illustrate how theatre and film transmit culture from generation to generation and between one ethnic community and the wider American scene.

The Jewish Americans

Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America

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Author: Beth S. Wenger

Publisher: Doubleday Books

ISBN: 0385521391

Category: History

Page: 388

View: 2215

Recounts the story of Jews in America, from the mid-seventeenth century to the present day, examining the contributions of the Jewish people to American culture, politics, and society.

Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age Novels

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Author: Jennifer Ho

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135469199

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 212

View: 8926

This interdisciplinary study examines the theme of consumption in Asian American literature, connection representations of cooking and eating with ethnic identity formation. Using four discrete modes of identification--historic pride, consumerism, mourning, and fusion--Jennifer Ho examines how Asian American adolescents challenge and revise their cultural legacies and experiment with alternative ethnic affiliations through their relationships to food.

Trouble in the Tribe

The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

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Author: Dov Waxman

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400880351

Category: Political Science

Page: 328

View: 7871

Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity. Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics. Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.

Interpreting American Jewish History at Museums and Historic Sites

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Author: Avi Y. Decter

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 1442264365

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 248

View: 6331

Interpreting American Jewish History at Museums and Historic Sites begins with a broad overview of American Jewish history in the context of a religious culture than extends back more than 3,000 years and which manifests itself in a variety of distinctive American forms. Five chapters examine key themes in American Jewish history: movement, home life, community, prejudice, and culture. Each thematic chapter is followed by a series of case studies that describe and analyze a variety of projects by historical organizations to interpret American Jewish life and culture for general public audiences. The last two chapters of the book are a history of Jewish collections and Jewish museums in North America and a look at “next practice,” intended to promote continuous innovation, new thinking, and programming that is responsive to ever-changing circumstances.

American Post-Judaism

Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society

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Author: Shaul Magid

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253008026

Category: Religion

Page: 388

View: 9847

Articulates a new, post-ethnic American Jewishness