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L'Chaim!: To Jewish Life in America! - Celebrating from 1654 Until Today
Synopses & Reviews
Coinciding with the 350th anniversary of the first recorded Jewish settlement in North America, this lavishly illustrated introduction to Jewish life is a compilation of compelling first-person reports and well-documented facts. Brimming with photographs, paintings, memorabilia, and other artifacts from the renowned Jewish Museum and other sources, and with text by award-winning author Susan Rubin, this book provides readers with a wide range of examples of North American Jewish life all across the U.S. and Canada. This book continues the growing library of Abrams' high-quality, award-winning, and accessible Judaic-content books.
"Published in association with the Jewish Museum, this celebration of 'the 350th anniversary of the first recorded Jewish settlement in North America' (according to the preface) takes a sincere approach and brims with wonderful photographs, but falls short in several crucial areas. Rubin's writing comes alive, for instance, when she chronicles the involvement of Jews in the labor movement — the chapter includes compelling characters (such as redheaded Rose, a Polish immigrant, who began working in a cap factory at age 13 and helped organize Local 23) and genuine dramatic tension. But often the narrative takes on a pallid tone (e.g., 'On the whole, American Jews, including those who were hardly observant, shared a desire after World War II to give their children a strong Jewish identity'). The history comes across as either stitched-together anecdotes or as grand sweeps that may not leave much of an impression on readers. And the book leaves out the ways in which Jewish children have contributed to (and are often the raison d'etre for) vibrant synagogue life (e.g., the role that summer camps, Hebrew school, youth groups and Jewish community centers have played in forging young American Jewish identities). Still, the photographs are so evocative that they almost compensate for these shortcomings. Among the highlights: an 1893 photograph of a teenage immigrant lost in a book amid the hubbub of a crowded ship headed for America, early 20th-century images of Jewish cowboys looking very much at home on the range, and a 1913 map of America spelling out each state's name phonetically in Hebrew ('Iowa' clearly tested the limits of the Hebrew alphabet). Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In 1654, the first Jews arrived in New Amsterdam-later to become New York City-as refugees from the Inquisition in Brazil, and the 350th anniversary of the arrival of Jews in the United States is being marked with celebrations and books in 2004. This volume is less ambitious than the similar From Haven to Home, but it's more affordably priced and it's handsomely illustrated with photos and ritual objects from the collection of the venerable Jewish Museum in New York City. Rubin, a writer of notable books for children (Searching for Anne Frank; Margaret Bourke-White), makes history personal by focusing on individuals and families-some well known, some not-who exemplify the wide-ranging experiences of Jews in America: Haym Solomon and Abraham Cohen supported the American Revolution; Joseph Jonas, the first Jew to settle in Cincinnati, represents the move west; Rose Schneiderman, pictured at her sewing machine, is one of the host of immigrants who worked in the oppressive garment factories. Works by artists Ben Shahn, Jacob Epstein and George Segal illuminate the history and culture of Jewish America; a Yiddish patriotic poster supporting WWI shows how Jews identified with the American cause. So intertwined have 'Jewish' and 'American' become in many Jews' minds that one historian, Shalom Goldman, of Emory University says, 'I grew up thinking that Thanksgiving was somehow a Jewish holiday...' Anyone who identifies with that statement will take pleasure in this volume." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Coinciding with the 350th anniversary of the first recorded Jewish settlement in North America, this lavishly illustrated introduction to Jewish life is a compilation of compelling first-person reports and well-documented facts that provide readers with examples of North American Jewish life. Illustrations.
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