A History of the Jews in America

A History of the Jews in America

Language: English

Pages: 1072

ISBN: 0679745300

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Spanning 350 years of Jewish experience in this country, A History of the Jews in America is an essential chronicle by the author of The Course of Modern Jewish History.

With impressive scholarship and a riveting sense of detail, Howard M. Sachar tells the stories of Spanish marranos and Russian refugees, of aristocrats and threadbare social revolutionaries, of philanthropists and Hollywood moguls. At the same time, he elucidates the grand themes of the Jewish encounter with America, from the bigotry of a Christian majority to the tensions among Jews of different origins and beliefs, and from the struggle for acceptance to the ambivalence of assimilation.

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stagecraft of such imaginative directors and designers as Lee Strasberg and Lee Simonson, the Theater Guild provided a setting for the works of Europe’s greatest playwrights. They introduced to Broadway, as well, a dazzling new group of American playwrights, among them Elmer Rice, Sidney Howard, and Eugene O’Neill. By the mid-1920s, the Theater Guild had four productions going simultaneously in four Broadway houses, and was establishing a new standard of intellect and taste for American

financial exertion was prodigious enough, moreover, to stun community leaders and private individuals alike into a reappraisal of their collective resources and capacities. In the end, the 1948 campaign charted a new course in the very sociology of their lives as Jews. Henceforth, the emergent State of Israel would become more than the cynosure of American-Jewish philanthropy. It would function increasingly as the bedrock of American-Jewish identity altogether. CHAPTER XVIII FROM COLD WAR TO

peers in full-scale real estate development, however, it was William Levitt, another second-generation Jew, who transformed the very social landscape of American home ownership. During the acute housing shortage of the immediate post-World War II period, Levitt borrowed funds to purchase four thousand acres of potato-farming land near the town of Hempstead on Long Island, outside New York. There, during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Levitt used cut-rate mass-production techniques to build

revolution of “spiritual” leadership. It was the parnas, the lay president, who set congregation policy. The rabbi, chronically underpaid and muzzled on political issues, often was banned even from attending public meetings. The less the rabbinate offered in prestige and material rewards, the less it attracted capable men. The Struggle for Cultural Identity NEVERTHELESS, IN THE THREE DECADES before the Civil War, it was precisely one of the “reverends,” Isaac Leeser, who came closest to filling

the Depression, when hotels and rooming houses were going begging, the “Gentiles only” rule appeared increasingly outdated. A few semiretired Jewish businessmen with money to invest began buying delinquent hotels and apartment houses among the beach’s real estate wreckage. By the eve of World War II, among twenty-five thousand inhabitants, about five thousand were Jews. Most resided south of Fourteenth Street, but smaller groups were scattered farther north. As the Jewish community grew, to be

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