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Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity

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Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity, the innovative and deeply researched new book by Lila Corwin Berman, put me in mind of an old joke about elephants. As the story goes, scientists from around the world were gathering at a conference to present their research on elephants. The German delegate's paper was titled 'An Introduction to a Bibliography on the Classification of Elephants'; the French delegate's, 'The Love Life of the Elephant'; the American's, 'Hunting Elephants for Fun and Profit.' Finally came the Jewish scientist; his paper was called 'The Elephant and the Jewish Problem.' Adam Kirsch, The Nation (read the entire Nation review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Lila Corwin Berman asks why, over the course of the twentieth century, American Jews became increasingly fascinated, even obsessed, with explaining themselves to their non-Jewish neighbors. What she discovers is that language itself became a crucial tool for Jewish group survival and integration into American life. Berman investigates a wide range of sources — radio and television broadcasts, bestselling books, sociological studies, debates about Jewish marriage and intermarriage, Jewish missionary work, and more — to reveal how rabbis, intellectuals, and others created a seemingly endless array of explanations about why Jews were indispensable to American life. Even as the content of these explanations developed and shifted over time, the very project of self-explanation would become a core element of Jewishness in the twentieth century.

Review:

"This is an outstanding contribution to the literature on social science and the intellectual construction of Jewish identity in the U.S. The author has done a superb job of linking the Jewish missionary movement within the religious sector with the Jewish sociological trends and the dilemma of Jewish assimilation." Janet Jacobs, author of Hidden Heritage: The Legacy of the Crypto-Jews

About the Author

Lila Corwin Berman is Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies and Mal and Lea Bank Early Career Professor in Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Presenting Jews to America

1. Spiritual Missions after the Great War: The Reform Movement and the Jewish Chautauqua Society

2. The Ghetto and Beyond: The Rising Authority of American Jewish Social Science in Interwar America

3. The Sacred and Sociological Dilemma of Jewish Intermarriage

4. Serving the Public Good and Serving God in 1940s America

5. Constructing an Ethnic America: Oscar Handlin, Nathan Glazer, and Post-World War II Social Research

6. What Is a Jew? Missionaries, Outreach, and the Cold War Ethnic Challenge

7. A Jewish Marilyn Monroe and the Civil-Rights-Era Crisis in Jewish Self-Presentation

Conclusion: Speaking of Jews

Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520256811
Author:
Berman, Lila Corwin
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Identity
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Jewish studies
Subject:
Judaism - General
Subject:
United States Ethnic relations.
Subject:
Jews -- United States -- Identity.
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Sociology-Jewish Studies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
12 b/w photographs
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.88 in 15 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Geography » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Jewish Studies
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History
Religion » Judaism » Jews in America
Science and Mathematics » Geology » General

Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 280 pages University of California Press - English 9780520256811 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity, the innovative and deeply researched new book by Lila Corwin Berman, put me in mind of an old joke about elephants. As the story goes, scientists from around the world were gathering at a conference to present their research on elephants. The German delegate's paper was titled 'An Introduction to a Bibliography on the Classification of Elephants'; the French delegate's, 'The Love Life of the Elephant'; the American's, 'Hunting Elephants for Fun and Profit.' Finally came the Jewish scientist; his paper was called 'The Elephant and the Jewish Problem.' (read the entire Nation review)
"Review" by , "This is an outstanding contribution to the literature on social science and the intellectual construction of Jewish identity in the U.S. The author has done a superb job of linking the Jewish missionary movement within the religious sector with the Jewish sociological trends and the dilemma of Jewish assimilation."
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