American Jewry

A New History

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Eli Lederhendler
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , November
     352 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Understanding the history of Jews in America requires a synthesis of over 350 years of documents, social data, literature and journalism, architecture, oratory, and debate, and each time that history is observed, new questions are raised and new perspectives found. This book presents a readable account of that history, with an emphasis on migration patterns, social and religious life, and political and economic affairs. It explains the long-range development of American Jewry as the product of 'many new beginnings' more than a direct evolution leading from early colonial experiments to latter-day social patterns. This book also shows that not all of American Jewish history has occurred on American soil, arguing that Jews, more than most other Americans, persist in assigning crucial importance to international issues. This approach provides a fresh perspective that can open up the practice of minority-history writing, so that the very concepts of minority and majority should not be taken for granted.

• Proposes a wider concept of American Jewish history, highlighting its transnational features • Formulates a new model of 'many new beginnings' to replace the traditional model of long-term immigration histories • Synthesizes documents, social data, literature and journalism, architecture, oratory, and debate over a period of more than 350 years to trace the history of Jews in America

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Eli Lederhendler is a modern historian who teaches on the American and European Jewish experience. He is the Stephen S. Wise Chair in American Jewish history, and Institutions in the department of Jewish history and contemporary Jewry. He has research interests that include Jewish political history, Jews in the history of international migrations, and the history of economic relations in Jewish society.

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