THIS BOOK began as a study of Jewish philoanthropy in the United States but soon developed into a larger analysis of modern American Jewish liberalism. It was, to paraphrase my graduate advisor at UCLA, Regina Morantz-Sanchez, a journey of self-discovery. From the earliest stages of this project, I enjoyed the good fortune of a supportive community of scholars, teachers, mentors, and friends. tHey helped keep my footing on a subject many described as “slippery,” and I would like to offer them my thanks. Steven Zipperstein suggested an exploration of Jewish liberalism and helped me understand the European origins of AmericnaJewry. George Sanchez placed the American Jewish experience int he larger cont3ext of ethnic history and never let me forget that history is about how ordinary people reacted in extraordinary circumstances. jeffery Prager introduced me to the world of normative theory and the sociology of affirmative action. Regina Morantz-Sanchez guided this project from its beginning. She taught me the arts of critical thingking, helped me find meaning in source that appeared to have little, and inspired me to become a much better writer.
Within the larger community of American Jewish historians, Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University read several versions of this manuscript and has been a constant source of support. His invitation to addres a national conference of American Jewish history in 1992 launched my academic career and created many new opportunities in the field. I first met Stephen Whitfield, also of Brandeis, as my wife's favorite undergraduate professor. Since then, he has become a colleague and friend. His critique of an early manuscript focused much of my revision and helped me avoid many common pitfalls. Murray Friedman, mid-Atlantic states director of the American Jewish Committee and director of Temple University's Feinstein center for American Jewish history, has been a constant source of intellectual and moral support. He challenged me to consider the importance of Jewish conservation in America and never shied from enganging difficult and controversial issues. Gerald Henig of the California State University, Hayward, encouragedme to pursue graduate studies in American Jewish history and offered invaluable adivce on finishing a doctoral program.
I would like to offer a public “thank you” to a few of my best teachers: Betty Lawrence, Richard Hadley, Robert Ingraham, Jim Kinney, the late Al Costas, Gene Irschick, and Jim Ketner. Gretchen Anderson, the dean of social sociences at Pasadena City College, created many exciting opportunities for me. She understand my desire to engange in research and has