To the Golden Cities

Deborah Dash Moore, Author Free Press $24.95 (358p) ISBN 978-0-02-922111-2
Joining the great postwar migrations from the Northeast and the Midwest to Los Angeles and Miami were large numbers of Jews from Chicago and New York. Cut loose from their ties to the old European religious cultures of their families, these ``permanent tourists,'' as Moore calls them, created a new and distinctly American Jewish identity, colored by the comparably free-wheeling, easy life around them in their new Edens. Regular attendance at religious services and observation of ritual customs met with strong competition from sun and sea; some rabbis felt obliged to hold a congregation together by promoting the Sabbath services as ``entertainment.'' Moore, director of Vassar College's Program in American Culture, details Jewish life minutely in Miami and Los Angeles; the loss of a traditional Jewish sense of identity, and its ultimate reconstitution in the establishment of Israel; and the constant presence of anti-Semitism, which could, paradoxically, serve to reunify. Although often overwhelmed by documentation of such trivia as the name of the manager of the gift shop of a Miami synagogue, Moore's study is nevertheless a notable depiction of the social, political and religious experiences of the two migratory streams. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Ebook - 358 pages - 978-1-4391-0607-5
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-674-89305-4
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