The Jew Store

Stella Suberman, Author
Stella Suberman, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $19.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-56512-198-0
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
In 1920, two years before the author was born, her family became the first Jews to live in the small town of Concordia, Tenn. Against the objections of his wife, Aaron Bronson, a Russian Jewish immigrant who had worked in dry goods stores in Savannah, Ga., and Nashville, started his own business by opening Bronson's Low-Priced Store in Concordia, which the locals called ""the Jew store."" In this richly detailed memoir, in which her father's optimism contrasts sharply with her mother's anxiety about their ability to provide their children with a Jewish education in their new surroundings, Suberman evokes early-20th-century life in the rural South and depicts her family's struggles to find a place in a town where African Americans suffered discrimination and poverty, the Ku Klux Klan was on the march and townspeople viewed Jews with suspicion. Suberman provides vivid characterizations of Concordia's residents, especially Brookie Simmons, who not only gave the Bronsons a home but fought to end child labor in the town's factory. In 1933, Aaron finally yielded to his wife's entreaties and moved with her and their three children back to New York City, even though they had come to regard Concordia as home. Author tour. (Sept.)
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