Catalogue

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History lessons : the creation of American Jewish heritage /
Beth S. Wenger.
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2010.
description
xiv, 282 p.
ISBN
0691147523 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780691147529 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2010.
isbn
0691147523 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780691147529 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
In search of American Jewish heritage -- Civic performances: Jews and American national holidays -- War Stories: Jewish patriotism on parade -- Heroic tales: educating American Jewish children -- Sculpting an American Jewish hero: the myths and monuments of Haym Salomon.
catalogue key
7264213
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Arguing that American Jews have created a distinctive American Jewish heritage that interweaves Judaism with democracy, Wenger's compelling and elegant book shows that this heritage rewrites both Jewish and American history into a relatively seamless whole."-- Deborah Dash Moore, director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan " History Lessons tells an important story, one that analyzes the ways in which a minority group--in this case, American Jews up to the end of World War II--constructed a history for themselves. Wenger has tackled a virtually untapped vein of material. There is certainly nothing like this book in American Jewish history."-- Hasia R. Diner, New York University
Flap Copy
"Arguing that American Jews have created a distinctive American Jewish heritage that interweaves Judaism with democracy, Wenger's compelling and elegant book shows that this heritage rewrites both Jewish and American history into a relatively seamless whole."--Deborah Dash Moore, director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan " History Lessons tells an important story, one that analyzes the ways in which a minority group--in this case, American Jews up to the end of World War II--constructed a history for themselves. Wenger has tackled a virtually untapped vein of material. There is certainly nothing like this book in American Jewish history."--Hasia R. Diner, New York University
Flap Copy
"Arguing that American Jews have created a distinctive American Jewish heritage that interweaves Judaism with democracy, Wenger's compelling and elegant book shows that this heritage rewrites both Jewish and American history into a relatively seamless whole."--Deborah Dash Moore, director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan"History Lessonstells an important story, one that analyzes the ways in which a minority group--in this case, American Jews up to the end of World War II--constructed a history for themselves. Wenger has tackled a virtually untapped vein of material. There is certainly nothing like this book in American Jewish history."--Hasia R. Diner, New York University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-06-01:
American Jews created narratives about Jews in US history in order to establish a collective heritage. Wenger (Pennsylvania) demonstrates that these stories related a Jewish past to US histories in ways that were sometimes celebratory and sometimes critical, but they always sought to establish a place for Jews within US myths and thereby the US present. Wenger analyzes a "dual agenda" in which Jews both "wrote themselves into the narratives of American history" and narrated their own lives as hopeful endings to the "long history of the Jewish people." In exploring these narratives and counternarratives, Wenger provides fascinating primary sources, from didactic Yiddish poetry to letters hotly contesting the erection of a statue. The volume includes examinations of the particular political and cultural facets of US life that allowed Jews to "create" their own heritage and identity; the representation of US Jewish soldiers; children's literature; efforts at memorializing the Revolutionary financier Haym Solomon; and a standout chapter on Jews' relationships to US national holidays. Although Wenger's conclusions may not be surprising for those familiar with US Jewish history, her readings are subtle and compelling. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. S. E. Imhoff Indiana University / Bloomington
Reviews
Review Quotes
History Lessons is a lucid and engaging work of scholarship with potential broad appeal. Wenger, Associate Professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, has produced the first in-depth study examining the ways in which American Jews have constructed a shared American Jewish heritage.
History Lessons is a lucid and engaging work of scholarship with potential broad appeal. Wenger, Associate Professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, has produced the first in-depth study examining the ways in which American Jews have constructed a shared American Jewish heritage. -- Rebecca J. W. Jefferson, AJL Reviews
History Lessons is a lucid and engaging work of scholarship with potential broad appeal. Wenger has produced the first in-depth study examining the ways in which American Jews have constructed a shared American Jewish heritage.
" History Lessons is a lucid and engaging work of scholarship with potential broad appeal. Wenger has produced the first in-depth study examining the ways in which American Jews have constructed a shared American Jewish heritage."-- Rebecca J. W. Jefferson, AJL Reviews
History Lessons is an impressive work of historical scholarship and cultural studies. Its writing is lively, accessible, and thankfully free of academic jargon. It will certainly find its audience among scholars of Jewish history and of American history.
" History Lessons is an impressive work of historical scholarship and cultural studies. Its writing is lively, accessible, and thankfully free of academic jargon. It will certainly find its audience among scholars of Jewish history and of American history."-- Pamela S. Nadell, H-Judaic
History Lessons is an impressive work of historical scholarship and cultural studies. Its writing is lively, accessible, and thankfully free of academic jargon. It will certainly find its audience among scholars of Jewish history and of American history. -- Pamela S. Nadell, H-Judaic
History Lessons is a work of scholarship, but it is an especially lucid and accessible one, and the book has a unique appeal for a nonacademic Jewish readership. Indeed, we are the subject of Wenger's impressive study, and it is fascinating to read about ourselves in its pages.
" History Lessons is a work of scholarship, but it is an especially lucid and accessible one, and the book has a unique appeal for a nonacademic Jewish readership. Indeed, we are the subject of Wenger's impressive study, and it is fascinating to read about ourselves in its pages."-- Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal of Greater LA
History Lessons is a work of scholarship, but it is an especially lucid and accessible one, and the book has a unique appeal for a nonacademic Jewish readership. Indeed, we are the subject of Wenger's impressive study, and it is fascinating to read about ourselves in its pages. -- Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal of Greater LA
History Lessons offers a remarkable trove of historical literature built upon fact and myth, mostly authored outside the academy, but instructive in understanding how American Jews constructed a new identity in their adoptive land.
" History Lessons offers a remarkable trove of historical literature built upon fact and myth, mostly authored outside the academy, but instructive in understanding how American Jews constructed a new identity in their adoptive land."-- Hadassa Kosak, Journal of American History
History Lessons offers a remarkable trove of historical literature built upon fact and myth, mostly authored outside the academy, but instructive in understanding how American Jews constructed a new identity in their adoptive land. -- Hadassa Kosak, Journal of American History
History Lessons provides fascinating and essential reading for anyone keen to learn more about the more neglected dimensions of the cultural history of American Jews.
" History Lessons provides fascinating and essential reading for anyone keen to learn more about the more neglected dimensions of the cultural history of American Jews."-- Alan Gibbs, Journal of American Studies
History Lessons provides fascinating and essential reading for anyone keen to learn more about the more neglected dimensions of the cultural history of American Jews. -- Alan Gibbs, Journal of American Studies
Now we see through Wenger's discussion yet another intriguing context: the newcomers coming of age and staking 'claim [to] their share in American Jewish heritage.' It is precisely this keen insight that makes this solidly conceived and well-written book important reading.
"Now we see through Wengers discussion yet another intriguing context: the newcomers coming of age and staking claim [to] their share in American Jewish heritage. It is precisely this keen insight that makes this solidly conceived and well-written book important reading."-- Jeffrey S. Gurock, Journal of Church and State
Now we see through Wenger's discussion yet another intriguing context: the newcomers coming of age and staking 'claim [to] their share in American Jewish heritage.' It is precisely this keen insight that makes this solidly conceived and well-written book important reading. -- Jeffrey S. Gurock, Journal of Church and State
[Subtle] and compelling . . .
"[Subtle] and compelling . . ."-- Choice
[Subtle] and compelling . . . -- Choice
Wenger's work provides a powerful framework that will hopefully guide future research but also inform a general readership about the nature of American Jewish life.
"Wenger's work provides a powerful framework that will hopefully guide future research but also inform a general readership about the nature of American Jewish life."-- SMC, Jewish Book World
Wenger's work provides a powerful framework that will hopefully guide future research but also inform a general readership about the nature of American Jewish life. -- SMC, Jewish Book World
Without reaffirming or criticizing these tenets of the American Jewish heritage, Wenger thoroughly and engagingly tells the story of their origin and evolution.
"Without reaffirming or criticizing these tenets of the American Jewish heritage, Wenger thoroughly and engagingly tells the story of their origin and evolution."-- Jewish Review of Books
Without reaffirming or criticizing these tenets of the American Jewish heritage, Wenger thoroughly and engagingly tells the story of their origin and evolution. -- Jewish Review of Books
Arguing that American Jews have created a distinctive American Jewish heritage that interweaves Judaism with democracy, Wenger's compelling and elegant book shows that this heritage rewrites both Jewish and American history into a relatively seamless whole.
History Lessonstells an important story, one that analyzes the ways in which a minority group--in this case, American Jews up to the end of World War II--constructed a history for themselves. Wenger has tackled a virtually untapped vein of material. There is certainly nothing like this book in American Jewish history.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This publication explores the ways that Jews constructed their heritage in the US from the late 19th through the mid-20th century. Examining holiday celebrations, monument projects, as well as children's literature, this book investigates the ways that American Jews created their own history in popular forms.
Main Description
Most American Jews today will probably tell you that Judaism is inherently democratic and that Jewish and American cultures share the same core beliefs and values. But in fact, Jewish tradition and American culture did not converge seamlessly. Rather, it was American Jews themselves who consciously created this idea of an American Jewish heritage and cemented it in the popular imagination during the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. History Lessons is the first book to examine how Jews in the United States collectively wove themselves into the narratives of the nation, and came to view the American Jewish experience as a unique chapter in Jewish history. Beth Wenger shows how American Jews celebrated civic holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July in synagogues and Jewish community organizations, and how they sought to commemorate Jewish cultural contributions and patriotism, often tracing their roots to the nation's founding. She looks at Jewish children's literature used to teach lessons about American Jewish heritage and values, which portrayed--and sometimes embellished--the accomplishments of heroic figures in American Jewish history. Wenger also traces how Jews often disagreed about how properly to represent these figures, focusing on the struggle over the legacy of the Jewish Revolutionary hero Haym Salomon. History Lessons demonstrates how American Jews fashioned a collective heritage that fused their Jewish past with their American present and future.
Main Description
Most American Jews today will probably tell you that Judaism is inherently democratic and that Jewish and American cultures share the same core beliefs and values. But in fact, Jewish tradition and American culture did not converge seamlessly. Rather, it was American Jews themselves who consciously created this idea of an American Jewish heritage and cemented it in the popular imagination during the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.History Lessonsis the first book to examine how Jews in the United States collectively wove themselves into the narratives of the nation, and came to view the American Jewish experience as a unique chapter in Jewish history.Beth Wenger shows how American Jews celebrated civic holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July in synagogues and Jewish community organizations, and how they sought to commemorate Jewish cultural contributions and patriotism, often tracing their roots to the nation's founding. She looks at Jewish children's literature used to teach lessons about American Jewish heritage and values, which portrayed--and sometimes embellished--the accomplishments of heroic figures in American Jewish history. Wenger also traces how Jews often disagreed about how properly to represent these figures, focusing on the struggle over the legacy of the Jewish Revolutionary hero Haym Salomon.History Lessonsdemonstrates how American Jews fashioned a collective heritage that fused their Jewish past with their American present and future.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
In Search of American Jewish Heritagep. 15
Civic Performances: Jews and American National Holidaysp. 58
War Stories: Jewish Patriotism on Paradep. 96
Historical Tales: Educating American Jewish Childrenp. 135
Sculpting an American Jewish Hero: The Myths and Monuments of Haym Salomonp. 179
Epilogue: American Jewish Heritage after World War IIp. 210
Notesp. 231
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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