THE JEWS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1645–2000

Hasia R. Diner, Author . Univ. of California $29.95 (447p) ISBN 978-0-520-22773-6

In the fourth volume in the Jewish Communities in the Modern World series, Diner (an NYU professor and author of Hungering for America) shows that, from the colonial era to the present, Jews have wanted both to "be good Jews and... full Americans." The book opens with a survey of the small Jewish community in colonial and revolutionary America. Diner then turns to the 19th-century waves of Jewish immigration. In these pages, we meet upwardly mobile peddlers, religious reformers pressing for English-language worship services and Jewish state senators. In the final section of the book, Diner charts Jewish responses to World War I, the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement. Diner is to be commended for her thorough integration of women into her Jewish American story; she recounts the stories of female philanthropists and teachers, and examines the roles women played in political movements from Zionism to second-wave feminism. She also deserves kudos for attending to both religious and secular Judaism. She traces the 18th- and 19th-century battles for religious reform, the impact of Orthodox Jewish immigration on the American Jewish landscape and so forth, but she does not reduce the history of Judaism in America to a strictly religious story, or neglect political and cultural expressions of Judaism, like Yiddish theater. This academic synthesis of Jewish American history will find a home in the university market and will have crossover appeal to a broader readership. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 447 pages - 978-0-520-93992-9
Paperback - 437 pages - 978-0-520-24848-9
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