Jewish American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic

Jewish American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic

Jewish American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic

Jewish American Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic


This comprehensive and analytical history of American Jews and Judaism from the Colonial Era to the present explores the impact of America on Jews and of Jews on America.

• Hundreds of entries, organized chronologically, explain and analyze America's impact on Judaism and Jews, and Jews' impact on America

• Photographs of individuals, businesses, synagogues, and orphans' homes, striking workers, suffragettes, and statuary with explanatory labels

• Dozens of glossary entries that define and clarify key terms from "anti-Semitism" to "Zionism," as well as historical jargon like "colonial charters" and "established churches"

• A select bibliography of books, journals, and web pages guides the reader in further study


This chronology begins centuries before European exploration of North and South America and brings the story up to 2010 with Barack Obama in the White House. in between, it explains American Jewish history by highlighting important people, events, and trends. No history can be totally complete, of course, and certainly other scholars might include other people, events, and trends. Although I name, for example, some businesses, literary figures, economists, and historians, there are just too many to list them all. Put simply, the details in this book are but representative examples. Ideally, this chronology will entice readers to learn more about the history of American Jews and Judaism.

Within the chronology, individual stories illustrate broader themes and bring history alive. Personality profile sidebars appear throughout to bring attention to especially interesting, important, or representative individuals. the extensive, although far from exhaustive, bibliography, including key books, journals, and Web sites, recognizes the research upon which this book is based, and guides the reader to a broader range of in-depth studies.

The entries appear chronologically by date, organized into 20 overarching categories or topics. the list of category abbreviations appears with the front matter for easy reference. For example, the topic immigration is abbreviated as immi and acceptance/toleration as acct. I have broadly defined the categories so that, for example, population (POPU) describes demographic trends rather than just listing statistics. Within each date heading, the categories are usually listed in alphabetical order, with a few exceptions where one category would not make sense if it did not follow another. For example, business, government, or organizational activities related to a specific immigrant group appear in logical order after the immigration itself. Foreign or unusual words are explained in the text as well as in the glossary that appears toward the end.

From approximately 1820 to 1880, Jews from central Europe dominated Jewish immigration into the United States. Although this region includes several countries, the majority of these immigrants came from the German states. Thus sometimes they are designated as Jews from central Europe and at other times labeled simply as German Jews. in similar fashion, from 1881 to 1924, Jews from eastern Europe dominated Jewish immigration into the country, although the majority arrived from Russia. Thus the terms eastern European Jews and Russian Jews are both used.

I have been studying American and especially Southern Jewish history for more than 30 years. Besides original research in primary sources, I—and this work—have benefited tremendously from the work of other historians. Moreover, throughout my career several outstanding editors have broadened my perspective by challenging me with important questions and pressing me to stress a comparative framework. These people have my . . .

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