The earliest arrivals were German Jews who came when the territory was newly created. By the 1880s they were joined by immigrants from eastern Europe. Many settled in small towns or walked the roads as peddlers. Some found homes in the Iron Range towns of Virginia and Hibbing, but the majority lived in the Twin Cities. Gradually, as they clustered in neighborhoods, founded synagogues and community organizations, and sought to create Jewish homes, the two groups merged. A hundred years later, the process was repeated when immigrants from Russia arrived.
Authors Hyman Berman and Linda Mack Schloff discuss such community leaders as activist Fanny Brin, rabbi and newspaper editor Samuel Deinard, and educator Dr. George J. Gordon in the context of local and international challenges to the Jewish community.
Weaving introspection with political commentary, biography with history, The Promised Land, first published in 1912, brings to life the transformation of an Eastern European Jewish immigrant into an American citizen. Mary Antin recounts the process of uprooting, transportation, replanting, acclimatization, and development that took place in her] own soul and reveals the impact of a new culture and new standards of behavior on her family. A feeling of division--between Russia and America, Jews and Gentiles, Yiddish and English--ever-present in her narrative is balanced by insights, amusing and serious, into ways to overcome it. In telling the story of one person, The Promised Land illuminates the lives of hundreds of thousands. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The first major history of the gloriously restored Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first synagogue in the United States built by east European Jews, has a seminal place in the history of American Jewry.New York City's magnificent Eldridge Street Synagogue was built in 1887 in response to the great wave of Jewish immigrants who fled persecution in eastern Europe. Finding their way to the Lower East Side, the new arrivals formed a vibrant Jewish community that flourished from the 1850s until the 1940s. Their synagogue served not only as a place of worship but also as a singularly important center in the development of American Judaism.
A near ruin in the 1980s that was recently reopened after a massive twenty-year restoration, the Eldridge Street Synagogue has been named a National Historic Landmark. But as Bill Moyers tells us in his foreword, the synagogue is also "a landmark of the spirit, . . . the spirit of a new nation committed to the old idea of liberty."
Annie Polland uses elements of the building's architecture--the fa ade, the benches, the grooves worn into the sanctuary floor--as points of departure to discuss themes, people, and trends at various moments in the synagogue's history, particularly during its heyday from 1887 until the 1930s. Exploring the synagogue's rich archives, the author shines new light on the religious life of immigrant Jews, introduces various rabbis, cantors and congregants, and analyzes the significance of this special building in the context of the larger American-Jewish experience.
For more information, go to: www.EldridgeStreet.org
From the icons of the game to the players who got their big break but never quite broke through, The Baseball Talmud provides a wonderful historical narration of Major League Jewish Baseball in America. All the stats, the facts, the stories, and the (often unheralded) glory.
The Baseball Talmud reveals that there is far more to Jewish baseball than Hank Greenberg's powerful slugging and Sandy Koufax's masterful control. From Ausmus to Zinn, Berg to Kinsler, Holtzman to Yeager, and many others, Megdal draws upon the lore and the little-known details that increase our enjoyment of the game, including:
- Which Jewish player spent a portion of his retirement as a spy
- Who received $50,000 and a car to quit school and join the Major Leagues
- How many players sat out of games scheduled on Yom Kippur
- Which famous player chose baseball over becoming a rabbi
But this is more than just stories. Megdal, a stat geek himself, uses the wealth of modern sabermetrics to determine the greatest Jewish players at each position, the all-time Jewish All-Star Team, and how they would rate against the greatest teams in baseball history, from the 1906 Chicago Cubs to the 1998 New York Yankees.
The Baseball Talmud rewrites the history of Jewish baseball and is a book that every baseball fan should own.
In 1921 and 1924, the United States passed laws to sharply reduce the influx of immigrants into the country. By allocating only small quotas to the nations of southern and eastern Europe, and banning almost all immigration from Asia, the new laws were supposed to stem the tide of foreigners considered especially inferior and dangerous. However, immigrants continued to come, sailing into the port of New York with fake passports, or from Cuba to Florida, hidden in the holds of boats loaded with contraband liquor. Jews, one of the main targets of the quota laws, figured prominently in the new international underworld of illegal immigration. However, they ultimately managed to escape permanent association with the identity of the "illegal alien" in a way that other groups, such as Mexicans, thus far, have not.In After They Closed the Gates, Libby Garland tells the untold stories of the Jewish migrants and smugglers involved in that underworld, showing how such stories contributed to growing national anxieties about illegal immigration. Garland also helps us understand how Jews were linked to, and then unlinked from, the specter of illegal immigration. By tracing this complex history, Garland offers compelling insights into the contingent nature of citizenship, belonging, and Americanness.
Examining a range of styles from the gritty vernacular sensibility of Weegee (Arthur Fellig) to the glitzy theatricality of Annie Leibovitz, Morris takes a thoughtful look at ten American photographers, exploring the artists' often ambivalent relationships to their Jewish backgrounds. Going against the grain of most criticism on the subject, Morris argues that it is difficult to label Jewish American photographers as unequivocal outsiders or insiders with respect to mainstream American culture. He shows it is equally difficult to assign a characteristic style to such a varied group, who range from self-taught photographers to those trained in art school. In eclectic ways, however, the contemporary photographers highlighted in After Weegee carry on the social justice and documentary tradition associated with Sid Grossman, Aaron Siskind, and the primarily Jewish Photo League of the 1930s by chronicling the downside of the Reagan revolution of the 1980s.Rather than record movements or trends in current Jewish American photography, Morris focuses in-depth on the work of Bruce Davidson, Jim Goldberg, Mel Rosenthal, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Allen Ginsberg, Annie Leibovitz, Tyagan Miller, and Marc Asnin. Like Weegee, these photographers share a tendency toward socially informed expression and an interest in self-expression via the operations of photography, inevitably shaped by histories of socially conscious or documentary imaging. Moving between photo history, cultural history, and close readings of the images, Morris traces a common thread among contemporary secular Jewish American photographers, artists who link the construction of personal identity to the representation of history. After Weegee broadens our understanding of the relationship between Jewishness and contemporary photography, challenging us to take a fresh look at much of what has come to be canonized as modern, postwar, and art photography.
Against All Odds is the first comprehensive look at the 140,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors who came to America and the lives they have made here. William Helmreich writes of their experiences beginning with their first arrival in the United States: the mixed reactions they encountered from American Jews who were not always eager to receive them; their choices about where to live in America; and their efforts in finding marriage partners with whom they felt most comfortable-most often other survivors.
In preparation, Helmreich spent more than six years traveling the United States, listening to the personal stories of hundreds of survivors, and examining more than 15,000 pages of data as well as new material from archives that have never before been available to create this remarkable, groundbreaking work. What emerges is a picture that is sharply different from the stereotypical image of survivors as people who are chronically depressed, anxious, and fearful.
This intimate, enlightening work explores questions about prevailing over hardship and adversity: how people who have gone through such experiences pick up the threads of their lives; where they obtain the strength and spirit to go on; and, finally, what lessdns the rest of us can learn about overcoming tragedy.