American Jewish History

This publication offers articles on every aspect of the American Jewish experience and history.

Articles from Vol. 97, No. 3, July

'A Scientific Humanitarian and a Humanitarian Scientist' Lee Kaufer Frankel and American Jewish Philanthropy, 1899-1931
Following the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, in which 3,000 people were killed and between half and three-quarters of San Francisco's population was left homeless, Lee Kaufer Frankel and Judah Magnes traveled from New York on behalf...
Editor's Introduction
This summer issue marks the mid point of the one hundred and twentieth year since our journal's founding, an occasion ripe with significance. It is rich in years. It has lasted as long as Moses was said to have lived, and, just as could be said of...
Equating Zionism with Racism: The 1965 Precedent
In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted its notorious resolution 33 79 (2) equating Zionism with racism. The origins of that resolution can be traced back to the previous decade. Ironically, an early initiative to denounce Zionism as racial discrimination...
'Every Time I Try to Play Black, It Comes out Sounding Jewish': Jewish Jazz Musicians and Racial Identity
"Every time I try to play black, it comes out sounding Jewish." (2) --Stan Getz Early in his memoir, Really the Blues (1946), Jewish jazz clarinetist Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow describes a conversion experience. Mezzrow and his friends approach a...
George Bornstein, the Colors of Zion: Blacks, Jews, and Irish, from 1845 to 1945
George Bornstein, The Colors of Zion: Blacks, Jews, and Irish, from 1845 to 1945. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011. xii + 254 pp. The search for a lost moment of cross-racial solidarity is the "grail quest" of American history, shaped more...
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle against Free Speech
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Free Speech. By Victoria Saker Woeste. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2012. xii + 408 pp. Victoria Saker Woeste recounts with great authority and impressive detail the oft-told...
Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition
Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition. By Marni Davis. New York: New York University Press, 2012. x + 2.62 pp. Like so many other monographs that treat of immigrant history, Jews and Booze (a great, great title) focuses on...
Messianism, Secrecy, Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life
Messianism, Secrecy, Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life. By Laura Arnold Leibman. London and Portland, Or.: Vallentine Mitchell, 2012. xxvii+ 388 pp. When I read on the dust jacket that the doyen of American Jewish historians,...
One Crisis Behind? Rethinking Antisemitic Exceptionalism in the United States and Germany
In September 1921, Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Congress declared, "We do not recognize the existence of a Jewish question in the United States." (2) Yet, only three years later he remarked to noted African American scholar and...
Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball
Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball. By Rebecca T. Alpert. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. ix + 236 pp. Coming of age, Rebecca Alpert heard from her family and Reform temple that the major league baseball debut of Jackie Robinson...
Race, Rights, and Recognition: Jewish American Literature since 1969
Race, Rights, and Recognition: Jewish American Literature Since 1969. By Dean J. Franco. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. xi + 239. Rightly or wrongly, the study of Jewish American literature has often been criticized for its conservatism,...
Staying on Board with Proper Course Adjustments: American Jewish History, 1993-2012
In 1993, at the conclusion of my centennial history of the American Jewish Historical Society's (AJHS) journal, I projected that "any future study of the next epoch in [its] history ... undoubtedly" would begin with an evaluation of a relatively new...
Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago
Sundays at Sinai: A Jewish Congregation in Chicago. By Tobias Brinkmann. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. viii + 369 pp. This is an intelligent and important book, much more sweeping and significant than its title might suggest. It is...
The Birth of Conservative Judaism: Solomon Schechter's Disciples and the Creation of an American Religious Movement
The Birth of Conservative Judaism: Solomon Schechter's Disciples and the Creation of an American Religious Movement. By Michael R. Cohen. New York: Columbia University Press 2012. ix +163 pp. Michael Cohen's book returns discussion of the Conservative...
The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel
The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel. By Caitlin Carenen. New York: New York University Press, 2012. xvii + 265 pp. Caitlin Carenen's historical analysis of American Protestants' changing relationship with American...