This JPS Guide chronicles the extraordinary history of American Jewry. Finkelstein tells the dramatic 350-year story of the people and events that shaped the lives of today's American Jews. Divided into six time periods, American Jewish History describes Jewish life from the time of the early settlers, to the period of massive immigration that flooded the cities, to the incredible growth of Jews in positions of influence in business, politics, and the arts. This is a story of a people who affected not only the lives of Jews in the U.S. today, but also the course of American history itself. There are over 70 black and white photographs, maps, and charts and more than 120 feature boxes and biographies throughout, as well as timelines, notes, a bibliography, and index. Finkelstein has made the saga of American Jewry much more than a compilation of historical facts. This is wonderfully stimulating journey--a worthwhile adventure for readers of all ages.
Presenting the American Jewish historical experience from its communal beginnings to the present through documents, photographs, and other illustrations, many of which have never before been published, this entirely new collection of source materials complements existing textbooks on American Jewish history with an organization and pedagogy that reflect the latest historiographical trends and the most creative teaching approaches. Ten chapters, organized chronologically, include source materials that highlight the major thematic questions of each era and tell many stories about what it was like to immigrate and acculturate to American life, practice different forms of Judaism, engage with the larger political, economic, and social cultures that surrounded American Jews, and offer assistance to Jews in need around the world. At the beginning of each chapter, the editors provide a brief historical overview highlighting some of the most important developments in both American and American Jewish history during that particular era. Source materials in the collection are preceded by short headnotes that orient readers to the documentsÕ historical context and significance.