Academic journal article Shofar

Book Notes

Academic journal article Shofar

Book Notes

Article excerpt

American Jewish Life

An American Jewish Odyssey: American Religious Freedom and the Nathan Barnert Memorial Temple, by Cipora O. Schwartz. Jersey City: KTAV, 2007. 188 pp. $40.00. ISBN 0-88125-950-0.

This volume describes the growing freedom afforded to Jewish and all immigrant groups to America. That freedom enabled them to grow and prosper and in return contribute to the growth and prosperity of the United States. The story of the Nathan Barnert Memorial Temple, Congregation B'Nai Brith, the oldest Jewish congregation in New Jersey, is also the story of similar earlier American religious congregations of other faiths.

Bagels and Grits: A Jew on the Bayou, by Jennifer Anne Moses. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, 2007. 166 pp. $26.95. ISBN 978-0-299-22440-0.

Jennifer Anne Moses left behind a comfortable life in the upper echelons of East Coast Jewish society to move with her husband and children to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But as she encountered a culture populated by French Catholics and Evangelical Christians, African Americans and Cajuns, altruistic nurses and nuns, ex-cons, street-walkers, impoverished AIDS patients, and healers of all stripes, she found she had embarked on a journey of self-discovery. As witness to dire poverty and extreme adversity, Moses discovers a deeper commitment to her own faith.

The Columbia History of Jews & Judaism in America, by Marc Lee Raphael. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. 490 pp. $75.00. ISBN 978-0231-13222-0.

The first part of this book covers the early Jewish settlers (1654-1820), the expansion of Jewish life in America (1820-1901), the wave of eastern European Jewish immigrants (1880-1924), the character of American Judaism between the two world wars, American Jewish life from the end of World War II to the Six-Day War, and the growth of Jews' influence and affluence. The second half includes essays on the community of Orthodox Jews, the history of Jewish education in America, the rise of Jewish social clubs at the turn of the century, the history of southern and western Jewry, Jewish responses to Nazism and the Holocaust, feminism's confrontation with Judaism, and the question of what defines American Jewish culture.

Commentary Magazine 1945-59: A Journal of Significant Thought and Opinion,' by Nathan Abrams. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007. 201 pp. $75.00 (c); $29.50 (p). ISBN 0-85303-663-2 (c); 0-85303-664-0 (p).

Launched in 1945, Commentary magazine, under the editorship of Elliot E. Cohen, developed into the premier postwar journal of Jewish affairs, attracting a readership wider than its Jewish community origin. In this book Abrams traces the development of the key issues that have occupied its first fifty years: the construction of a new American Jewish identity, Judaism, the Holocaust, the State of Israel, and the Cold War. This account of a journal of Jewish thought, opinion, and culture in America is based upon a wide range of sources including archival and other material.

The Deadliest Lies: Tfoe Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control, by Abraham H. Foxman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 256 pp. $24.95. ISBN 978-1-4039-8492-0.

In a post-9/11 era of international tension and heightened suspicion, the American Jewish community has found itself having to respond to charges that it stifles free speech, has divided loyalties, and is responsible for pushing the U.S. into the war in Iraq. This book reveals the falsehoods behind these ideas. In particular, Abraham H. Foxman demolishes the claims of an all-powerful Israel lobby and a global Jewish conspiracy. He shows how antisemitic stereotypes are resurfacing and becoming mainstream and addresses the public figures who inspire these ideas.

Jewish Communities on the Ohio River: A History, by Amy Hill Shevitz. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. 266 pp. $50.00. ISBN 978-08131-2430-8.

Amy Hill Shevitz here chronicles the settlement and development of small Jewish communities in towns along the Ohio River. …

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