"The Jewish Experience in America"

Judaic 375
Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Fall 2000

Professor: Dr. Aviva Ben-Ur
Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Classroom: Barlett (Bart) 61
Office: Herter Hall 731
Office Telephone: (413) 577-0649
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-11:00 and by appointment
E-mail: aben-ur@judnea.umass.edu

Course Description

 The United States is home to the largest, and arguably most influential, Jewish community in the world.  This course will explore the development of the Jewish community and Jewish social and religious institutions in the United States from a socio-historical, religious and cultural perspective, and through the often overlapping lenses of religion, ethnicity, race, culture and community.  While this course will progress chronologically, the emphasis, particularly during the latter half of the course, will be topical.  Themes include immigration patterns, labor movements, Ashkenazic, Sephardic and Mizrahi cultures, traditional denominations and religious innovations, gendered experiences, and interaction with "mainstream" American culture.  Through the exploration of primary and secondary source readings, class lectures, slide shows and film clips, the uniqueness and diversity of American Jews and their communities will be explored from both traditional and innovative perspectives.

Course Requirements

1. Because this is an introductory course, no prior knowledge of Judaism or Jewish History is required.  Recommended  background reading on the Jewish religion is: Michael A. Fishbane, Judaism: Revelation and Traditions, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987.  A copy of this book is on reserve.

2. This is a reading-intensive course.  Readings average 63 pages per week.  Some readings are lighter or "easier" than others.  Be sure to check the syllabus for optional as opposed to mandatory readings.  Keep in mind that some pages need not be read since they include only footnotes.  For convenience, the approximate number of pages for each class is calculated in square brackets (e.g., "[approx. 29 pp.]")  Students will take five in-class quizzes on the readings and lectures covered since the previous quiz.  These quizzes are composed of terms to identify and short questions.  In addition to the quizzes, students will complete a 5-page biographical essay (see p.15 of this syllabus for description) on a Jewish individual from America/ the United States, an in-class midterm exam, and an in-class final exam.

3. Think of this class as a job (you love).  Just as missing work days and neglecting to complete office work efficiently will harm your chances of promotion, so too will missing classes and not completing the assignments adversely affect your grade for this class.  Likewise, regular attendance and high quality performance on quizzes and assignments will bring you the results you have earned.

4. Lectures are as important as readings.  Lectures reinforce the readings, and also add new material for which students are responsible.
5. Students are expected to attend all class meetings.  Students with lab exams or students involved in University-sanctioned activities (such as athletics and field trips) that may require them to miss class, must submit notes from their professors.  Students arriving late to class, after attendance is taken, are required to alert me to their presence at the end of class.  Otherwise, they will be marked absent.  Students are responsible for the classes they miss.  In case of absence, a student should request the notes from another student.  Due dates are listed in the syllabus; it is the students' responsibility to keep track of them.  If a student falls ill or has a personal emergency that requires him/her to ask for an extension, h/she must submit to me a letter from his/her doctor or from the Dean of Students Office.  In the case that a student cannot avoid missing a class, that student is still responsible for the material covered and for changes in the class schedule announced during that class.  If a quiz is given during a student's unexcused absence, the student will receive a "0" for that quiz.  Written assignments (i.e. biographical sources and biographies) handed in late without a prior extension will be marked down half a grade for every day late.
6. Students should bring reading materials assigned for that week to each class.

7. Students with learning disabilities should contact:

Learning Disabilities Support Services
321 Berkshire House
telephone: 413-545-4602
fax: 413-577-0691
Tutor Coordinator: Kathy Weilersterin
323 Middlesex House

LDSS will evaluate and diagnose students, and then contact the professor.  The professor will not accept claims about learning disabilities unless they are documented by LDSS.

Required Texts

Ben-Ur, Aviva, ed.  Course Packet for Jewish Experience in America.  Amherst, MA: Textbook Annex, 2000.  (Available at the Textbook Annex).  A copy of the Course Packet is also available on reserve.  In this syllabus, the Course Packet is designated as (CP)

Jonathan D. Sarna.  The American Jewish Experience.  Second Edition.  New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1997.  (Available at the Textbook Annex).  In this syllabus, this book is designated as (S)

Nathan Glazer.  American Judaism, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989.  (Available at the Textbook Annex).  In this syllabus, this book is designated as (G)

Additional Texts
Optional readings are available on reserve and are marked (R) in this syllabus.

Calculation of Grades
Five quizzes and attendance   25%
Mid-term take-home examination    25%
Biographical paper and sources   25%
Final exam      25%

Class Schedule With Assigned Readings

Note: readings listed under a date are due on that date!

Thursday, September 7: Introduction: The Jews of America/The United States

No advanced readings required, except to read the syllabus in its entirety.
Tuesday, September 12: "Old Sephardim:" Setting the Stage

film clip: "New York: A Documentary History"

Nathan. Glazer.  American Judaism, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989, pp.12-20.  (G)

Leon A. Jick.  "The Earliest American Jewry, 1654-1820". In The Americanization of the Synagogue, 1820-1870, Hanover and London: Brandeis University Press, 1992, pp.3-14.  (CP)

Mordecai Manuel Noah.  "Zipra Nunez's Account of the Family's Escape".  In Diane Matza, ed., Sephardic-American Voices: Two Hundred Years of a Literary Legacy, Hanover and London: Brandeis University Press, 1996, pp.23-24.  [Note: the story described takes place in 1733.]  (CP)                        [approx. 23 pp.]


Howard M. Sachar, "A Foothold in the Early Americas".  In A History of the Jews in America, New York: Vintage Books, 1992, pp.9-37.  (R)

Marcus, Jacob R.  The Colonial American Jew, 1492-1776, vol.1, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970, pp.215-248; 251-296.  (R)

Thursday, September 14: Getting Along and Fitting In: Ashkenazim and Sephardim/Jews and Gentiles in Colonial America

Eli Faber.  "Community" (chapter 3) and "Fitting In" (chapter 4).  In A Time for Planting: The First Migration, 1654-1820, Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp.52-66; 84-106.  (CP)             [approx. 39 pp.]


Jacob R. Marcus.  "The American Jewish Community Takes Shape" and "The American Colonial Jew: A Study in Acculturation".  In The American Jewish Experience, ed. Jonathan D. Sarna, New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1997, pp.3-17.  (S)
Tuesday, September 19: American Jews, the American Revolution and the Early National Period

Jonathan D. Sarna, "The Impact of the American Revolution on American Jews".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.18-28.  (S)

Jacob R. Marcus.  "The Early National Period, 1776-1840".  In The Jew in the American World: A Source Book, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996, pp.91-104.  (CP)

William Hallo, David Ruderman and Michael Stanislawski, eds.  "The American Constitution" through "The First Form of the 'Jew Bill', 1819", in Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, New York: Praeger, 1984, pp.242-246.   (CP)                 [approx. 28 pp.]

Thursday, September 21: The Germanization of American Jewry

Quiz #1

Howard M. Sachar.  "The Germanization of American Jewry".  In A History of the Jews in America, New York: Vintage Books, 1993, pp.38-43; pp.51-65.  (CP)

Stanley Nadel.  "Jewish Race and German Soul in Nineteenth-Century America".  American Jewish History 77:1 (September 1987): 6-26.  (CP)                 [approx. 40 pp.]

Michael A. Meyer.  "German-Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century America".  In Toward Modernity: The European Jewish Model, ed. Jacob Katz, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1987, pp.247-267.  (R)

Barry E. Supple.  "A Business Elite: German-Jewish Financiers in Nineteenth-Century New York".  In The American  Experience, ed. Jonathan D. Sarna, pp.98-112.  (S)

Tuesday, September 26: The Reform Movement

Nathan Glazer, "The German Immigration and the Shaping of Reform, 1825-94", and Appendix A, pp.22-42 and pp.187-188.  (G)

Meyer, Michael.  "America: The Reform Movement's Land of Promise."  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.59-81.  (S)           [approx. 46 pp.]

Karla Goldman.  "The Ambivalence of Reform Judaism: Kaufmann Kohler and the Ideal Jewish Woman" American Jewish History 79:4 (Summer 1990): 477-497.  (R)

Leon A. Jick.  "The Reform Synagogue".  In The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. Jack Wertheimer, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, 1995, pp.85-110.  (R)

Thursday, September 28: The "Ostjuden": Jews of Eastern Europe

Film clip: "Yiddish: The Mame-Loshn" (1979)

Nathan Glazer, "The East European Migration, 1880-1920".  In American Judaism, pp.60-78.  (G)

"Congressional Committee on Immigration: Temporary Suspension of Immigration (1920)."  In The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, pp.405-407.  (CP)
                                                 [approx. 21 pp.]

Howard M. Sachar, "The East European Avalanche Begins," A History of the Jews in America, pp.116-139.  (R)

Ewa Morawska.  "A Replica of the 'Old-Country' Relationship in the Ethnic Niche: East European Jews and Gentiles in Small-Town Western Pennsylvania, 1880's-1930's."  American Jewish History 77:1 (September 1987): 27-86.  (R)

Deborah Dwork, " Immigrant Jews on the Lower East Side of New York".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.120-153.  (S)

Paula E. Hyman.  "Immigrant Women and Consumer Protest: The New York City Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.151-164.  (S)

Paula E. Hyman.  "Gender and the Immigrant Jewish Experience in the United States".  In Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith R. Baskin, 1991, pp.222-242.  (R)

Lucy S. Dawidowicz.  "The Jewishness of the Jewish Labor Movement in the United States".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.183-193.  (S)

Tuesday, October 3: Germanic and Eastern European Jews: Two Ashkenazic Groups Clash and Eventually Merge

Moses Rischin, "Germans versus Russians".  In Jonathan D. Sarna, The American Jewish Experience, pp.136-150.  (S)

Selma Berrol, "German Versus Russians: An Update."  American Jewish History 73 (December 1983): 142-156.  (CP)           [approx. 28 pp.]

Zosa Szajkowski, "The Yahudi and the Immigrant: A Reappraisal," American Jewish Historical Quarterly 63 (September 1973): 13-45.  (R)

Thursday, October 5: The Rise of the Conservative and Orthodox Movements

Quiz #2

Nathan Glazer.  "Reformers and Conservatives, 1880-1900".  In American Judaism, pp.43-59.  Optional: "Judaism and Jewishness, 1920-1945" and "The Jewish Revival, 1945-1956", pp.79-105 and pp.106-128.  (G)

"A Sociohistorical Overview of American Jewish Denominations" and Table 2.1.  In Jewish Choices: American Jewish Denominationalism, ed. Bernard Lazerwitz, et al., Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998, pp.15-25 and p. 28-30.  (CP)        [approx. 29 pp.]

Jack Wertheimer.  "The Conservative Synagogue".  In The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. Jack Wertheimer, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, 1995, pp.111-149.  (R)

Jeffrey S. Gurock.  "The Orthodox Synagogue".  In The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. Jack Wertheimer, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, 1995, pp.37-84.  (R)

Tuesday, October 10: The "New" Sephardim of Turkey and Greece (the Former Ottoman Empire): "An Altogether Different Type of Jew" and /Mizrahi ("Eastern") Jews: The non-Iberian Jews of North Africa and the Middle East

Marc D. Angel.  "The Sephardim of the United States: An Exploratory Study", American Jewish Year Book 74 (1973): 77-111 and pp.123-124.  (CP)

Howard M. Sachar, "A Renewed Sephardic Influx," A History of Jews in America, pp.337-340.  (read critically!)  (CP)

Ella Shohat.  "The Invention of the Mizrahim" Journal of Palestine Studies 29:1 (Autumn 1999): 5-20.  Note: only pp.13-17 are mandatory.  (CP)

Dinah Dahbany-Miraglia.  "American Yemenite Jews: Interethnic Strategies," Persistence & Flexibility: Anthropological Perspectives on the American Jewish Experience, Walter P. Zenner, ed., New York: State University of New York Press, pp.63-78.  (CP)

Kay Kaufman Shelemay.  Diagram, "Defining a Diaspora Community" and "Syrian Jews as Sephardic Jews".  In Let Jasmine Rain Down: Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews.  Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, pp.69-72.  (CP)
                 [approx. 61 pp.]

Angel, Marc D., "The American Experience of a Sephardic Synagogue,"  The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. Jack Wertheimer, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, 1995, pp.153-169.  (R)

Ben-Ur, Aviva.   "Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Press" and "Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Theater," in Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, New York and London: Routledge, 1997, pp.781-788. (R)

Walter P. Zenner.  "Syrian Jews in New York Twenty Years Ago".  In Fields of Offerings: Studies in Honor of Raphael Patai, ed. Victor D. Sanua, Rutherford, Madison, Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press and London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1983, pp.173-193.  (R)

Thursday, October 12: "Funny, You Don't Look Jewish!": Encounters Between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews

Aviva Ben-Ur.  "Sephardic/Ashkenazic Encounters" and Appendix 2.  In Where Diasporas Met: Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews in the City of New York: A Study in Intra-Ethnic Relations, 1880-1950, Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University, 1998, pp.55-99 and pp.284-285.  (CP)              [approx. 47 pp.]

Walter P. Zenner.  "Common Ethnicity and Separate Identities: Interaction Between Jewish Immigrant Groups."  International and Intercultural Communication Annual 11 (1987): 267-285.  (R)

Tuesday, October 17: American Jews and the Question of Ethnicity and Race

slide show

Jonathan D. Sarna, "From Immigrants to Ethnics: Toward a New Theory of 'Ethnicization'", Ethnicity 5 (1978): 370-378.  (CP)

Eric L. Goldstein.  "'Different Blood Flows in Our Veins': Race and Jewish Self-Definition in Late Nineteenth Century America" American Jewish History 85:1 (1997): 29-55.  (CP)

June Purcell Guild.  "Slaves and Servants in the Seventeen Hundreds".  In Black Laws of Virginia: A Summary of the Legislative Acts of Virginia Concerning Negroes from Earliest Times to the Present, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1936, p.49.  (CP)
                [approx. 35 pp.]

Sachar, "The Golden Door Closes".  In A History of the Jews in America, pp.300-334.  (R)

Thursday, October 19: Anti-Semitism in American Jewish History

Quiz #3

Film clip: "Gentleman's Agreement" (starring Gregory Peck)

Ribuffo, Leo P., "Henry Ford and The International Jew".  The American Jewish Experience, pp.199-216.  (S)

"Jonathan D. Sarna.  "American Anti-Semitism".  In History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism, ed. David Berger, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986, pp.115-127.  (CP)

Ben Halpern.  "Introduction" (mandatory) and "America is Different" (optional).   In American Jews: A Reader, ed. Marshall Sklare, New York: Behrman House Inc., 1983, pp.23-24 and pp.25-45.  (CP)                         [approx. 32 pp.]

David A. Gerber.  "Anti-Semitism and Jewish-Gentile Relations in American Historiography and the American Past".  In Anti-Semitism in American History, ed. David A. Gerber, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987, pp.3-54.  (R)

Abraham G. Duker.  "Twentieth-Century Blood Libels in the United States".  In Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Memorial Volume, ed. Leo Landman, New York: Ktav, 1980, pp.85-109.  (CP)

Tuesday, October 24: In the Shadow of the Holocaust

Film clip: "Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?"

Feingold, Henry.  "Who Shall Bear the Guilt for the Holocaust?"  The Jewish American Experience, pp.274-292.  (S)

Jacob Katz.  "Was the Holocaust Predictable?"  Commentary 59 (May 1975): 41-48.  (CP)                     [approx. 28 pp.]

Thursday, October 26

Midterm Examination

Tuesday, October 31: The Impact of Zionism on American Jewry

Melvin I. Urofsky.  "Zionism: An American Experience".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.243-255.  (S)            [approx. 11 pp.]

Howard M. Sachar.  "The Zionization of American Jewry".  In A History of the Jews in America, pp.563-594.  (R)

Thursday, November 2: J.A.P.'s, Money and Sex: The Jewish American Princess and Jewish American Consumerism

Andrew R. Heinze.  "Adapting to Abundance: Luxuries, Holidays, and Jewish Identity".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.165-182.  (S)

Riv-Ellen Press.  "Why Jewish Princesses Don't Sweat: Desire and Consumption in Postwar American Jewish Culture".  In Too Jewish?: Challenging Traditional Identities, ed. Norman L. Kleeblatt, New York: The Jewish Museum and New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, pp.74-92.  (A revised version appears in Howard Eilberg-Schwartz's People of the Body: Jews and Judaism from an Embodied Perspective, New York: State University of New York Press, 1992, pp.329-359.)  (CP)     [approx. 34 pp.]

Jenna Weissman Joselit.  "The Jewish Home Beautiful".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.235-242.  (S)

Jenna Weissman Joselit.  "The Call of the Matzoh".  In The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950, New York: Hill and Wang, 1996, pp.219-263.  (R)

Riv-Ellen Prell.  "The Jewish American Princess: Detachable Ethnicity, Gender Ambiguity, and Middle-Class Anxiety.  In Fighting to Become Americans: Jews, Gender, and the Anxiety of Assimilation, pp.177-208.  (R)

Rhonda Lieberman.  "Jewish Barbie".  In Too Jewish?, pp.108-113.  (R)

Tuesday, November 7: The Sunbirds: Jews in the Golden Cities (Miami and Los Angeles)

Deborah Dash Moore.  "Jewish Migration in Postwar America: The Case of Miami and Los Angeles."  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.312-327.  (S) [approx. 15 pages]

Deborah Dash Moore.  To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A., New York: Free Press, 1994.  (R)

Thursday, November 9: The Turbulent 60s: Jews, Protest and Transformation

Biographical sources due

Jack Wertheimer.  "The Turbulent Sixties".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.328-347.  (S)

Marty Jezer.  "Hoffman at Brandeis".  Brandeis Review 20:3 (Spring 2000): 26-31.  (CP)
                [approx. 25 pp.]

Tuesday, November 14: The Feminist Impact on the American Jewish Community

Sylvia Barack Fishman, ch. 5, "Broadening Sexual and Gender Roles".  In A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, 1993, pp.95-120.  (CP)

Paula Hyman.  "The Jewish Family: Looking for a Usable Past".  In On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader, ed. Susannah Heschel, New York: Schocken Books, 1995, pp.19-26.  (CP)                      [approx. 33 pp.]

Blu Greenberg.  "Can a Mild-Mannered Yeshiva Girl Find Happiness among the Feminists?".  In On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, pp.21-37.  (R)

Thursday, November 16: The "Ba'al Teshuva" Movement: Returning to the Fold

Quiz #4

Janet Aviad.  "From Protest to Return: Contemporary Teshuvah" Jerusalem Quarterly 16 (Summer 1980): 71-82.  Note: only pp.71-74 are mandatory.  (CP)

Sara Bershtel and Allen Graubard.  "The Resilience of Orthodoxy".  Saving Remnants: Feeling Jewish in America, New York: The Free Press, 1992, pp.162-166 and pp.182-208.  (CP)               [approx. 37 pp.]

Davidman, Lynn.  Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.  (R)

Stephen Sharot.  "Hasidism in Modern Society".  Essential Papers on Hasidism: Origins to Present, ed. Gershon David Hundert, New York: New York Press, 1991, pp.511-531.  (R)

Harris, Lis.  Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family.  New York: Touchstone, 1985.  (R)

Tuesday, November 21: "Queer" Jews: The Impact of the Gay and Lesbian Movement

Balka, Christie and Andy Rose.  "Introduction" and "Epilogue".  Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish, Boston: Beacon Press, 1989, pp.1-8 and pp.242-245.  (CP)

Evelyn Torton Beck.  "Why is This Book Different from All Other Books?"  In Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, Boston: Beacon Press, 1989, pp.xv-xx.  (CP)

Faith Rogow.  "'Why Is This Decade Different from All Other Decades?' A Look at the Rise of Jewish Lesbian Feminism" Bridges 1:1 (Spring 1990): 67-78.  (CP)

Rebecca Alpert.  "Challenging Male/Female Complementarity: Jewish Lesbians and the Jewish Tradition".  In People of the Body: Jews and Judaism from an Embodied Perspective, ed. Howard Eliberg-Schwartz, New York: State University of New York Press, 1992, pp.361-377.  (CP)

"Denominational Differences: Homosexuality as a Case in Point".  In Jewish Choices, pp.24 and pp.26-27  (CP)            [approx. 46 pp.]

Thursday, November 23

No class-Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 28: "Unearthed Jews": The Marranos (Secret Jews) of the American Southwest

Barbara Kessel.  "Crypto-Jews".  Suddenly Jewish: Jews Raised as Gentiles Discover Their Jewish Roots, Hanover & London: Brandeis University Press, pp.17-38.  (CP)

Judith Neulander.  "Crypto-Jews of the Southwest: An Imagined Community."  Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review 16:1 (1994): 64-68.  (CP)

David Mayer Gradwohl.  "On Vestiges and Identities: Some Thoughts on the Controversy Concerning 'Crypto-Jews' in the American Southwest" and letters to editor.  In Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review 18: 1-2 (1996): 83-87.  (CP)             [approx. 30 pp.]

Trudi Alexy.  "Crypto-Jews of the American Southwest" Western States Jewish History 27:1 (October 1994): 73-86.  (R)

Thursday, November 30: Ways of Redefining Jewishness and Judaism: Black Hebrew Israelites and Messianic Jewish Christians

Quiz #5

Ruth Landes.  "Negro Jews in Harlem.  Jewish Journal of Sociology 9:2 (December 1967): 175-187.  (CP)

Merrill Singer.  "Symbolic Identity Formation in an African American Religious Sect: The Black Hebrew Israelites".  In Black Zion, pp.55-72.  (CP)

Peter Hudson.  "Jews, Black".  Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, ed. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999, pp.1049-1050.  (CP)

Karl Pruter.  Jewish Christians in the United States: A Bibliography, New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1987, pp.25-26; pp.135-136, p.150; pp.161-163, and pp.177-180.  (CP)                                 [approx. 42 pp.]


Yvonne Chireau.  "Black Culture and Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism, 1790-1930, an Overview."  In Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism, ed. Yvonne Chireau and Nathaniel Deutsch, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp.15-32.  (R)

Bernard J. Wolfson.  "African American Jews: Dispelling Myths, Bridging the Divide".  In Black Zion, pp.33-54.  (R)

Ethan Michaeli.  "Another Exodus: The Hebrew Israelites from Chicago to Dimona".  In Black Zion, pp.73-87.  (R)

Nathaniel Deutsch.  "The Proximate Other: The Nation of Islam and Judaism".  In Black Zion, pp.89-117.  (R)

Kathleen Malone O'Connor.  "The Nubian Islaamic Hebrews, Ansaaru Allah Community: Jewish Teachings of an African American Muslim Community".  In Black Zion, pp.118-150.  (R)

Allen Dwight Callahan.  "Remembering Nehemiah: A Note on Biblical Theology".  In Black Zion, pp.151-167.  (R)

Susannah Heschel.  "Theological Affinities in the Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King, Jr."  In Black Zion, pp.168-186.  (R)

Karla Goldman.  "This is the Gateway to the Lord: The Legacy of Synagogue Buildings for African American Churches on Cincinnati's Reading Road".  In Black Zion, pp.187-202.  (R)

Gary D. Eisenberg, ed.  "The Missionary Menace"; "Jews for Jesus: Are They Real?"; "They're Playing Our Song".  In Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquiry into the Cult Phenomenon", Northvale, New Jersey & London: Jason Aronson Inc., 1988, pp.161-185.  (R)

Tuesday, December 5: "Multi-Heritage" Jews: Both Black and Jewish

Julius Lester.  Lovesong: Becoming a Jew, New York: Arcade Publishing, 1988, pp.125-145.  (CP)

Katya Gibel Azoulay. Black, Jewish, and Interracial: It's Not the Color of Your Skin, but the Race of Your Kin, and Other Myths of Identity, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1997, bottom of p.18-p.29.  (CP)          [approx. 30 pp.]

Thursday, December 7: Jews, Hispanics and Hispanic Jews

Biographical paper due

slide show

Marjorie Agosin.  "Marjorie Agosin: Introduction"; "Ruth Behar" and "Epilogue".  In Uncertain Travelers: Conversations with Jewish Women Immigrants to America, ed. Mary G. Berg, Hanover and London: Brandeis University Press, 1999, pp.2-7; pp.194-208 and pp.209-210.  (CP)

Peter Beinart.  "New Bedfellows: The New Latino-Jewish Alliance" The New Republic (August 11 & 18 1997): 22-26.  (CP)           [approx. 25 pp.]

Tuesday, December 12: The American Jewish Community: The Leader of World Jewry?

David Biale.  ""American Jews and Contemporary Diaspora Power", in Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, New York: Schocken Books, 1987, pp.177-205.  (CP)

Steven J. Gold and Bruce Phillips.  "Mobility and Continuity Among Eastern European Jews," in Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America, Wadsworth, 1996, pp.182-194.  (CP)             [approx. 40 pp.]

Salo Wittmayer Baron.  "The American Experience".  Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People, ed. Salo Wittmayer Baron, et al., New York: Random House, 1956, pp.455-484.  (R)

Thursday, December 14: Jews in America Today-Intermarriage, Conversion, Outreach and the Future of the American Jewish Community

Nathan Glazer.  "Introduction", in American Judaism, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989, pp.1-11.  (G)

Sara Bershtel and Allen Graubard.  "Introduction" and "Epilogue".  Saving Remnants: Feeling Jewish in America, New York: The Free Press, 1992, pp.1-8 and pp.287-300.  (CP)

"Denominational Preferences and Intermarriage: Permeable Boundaries Between Jews and Non-Jews" and Tables 3.1, 3.2, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3.  In Jewish Choices, pp.93-112 and pp.40-41, 96-98.  (CP)             [approx. 57 pp.]

Arthur Hertzberg.  "United States Jewry-A Look Forward".  In The American Jewish Experience, pp.348-355.  (S)

Walter P. Zenner.  "Jewishness in America: Ascription and Choice".  In Ethnic and Racial Studies 8:1 (January 1985): 117-131.  (R)

Michael L. Gross.  "Paradigms of Jewish Ethnicity: Methodological and Normative Implications.  Jewish Journal of Sociology 35:1 (June 1993): 5-30.  (R)

Nathan Glazer.  "New Perspectives in American Jewish Sociology" American Jewish Year Book 87 (1987): 3-19.  (R)

Jonathan D. Sarna.  "The Secret of Jewish Continuity" Commentary 98:4 (October 1994): 55-58.  (R)

Jack Wertheimer, Charles S. Liebman and Steven M. Cohen.  "How to Save American Jews" Commentary 101:1 (January 1996): 47-51.  (R)
Final exam: To be announced

copyright Aviva Ben-Ur, 2000

Biographical Paper Assignment
  "The Jewish Experience in America"
Judaic 375
Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Fall 2000
Professor: Dr. Aviva Ben-Ur

 Choose a historical figure in Jewish history, in any period from colonial times to the present.  Write a five-page biography of this individual, placing him or her within the context of his/her epoch in American Jewish history.  Be sure to describe his/her impact on or significance for American Jewish history.  You may choose a person discussed in class or in the readings.  Alternatively, you may search for a person in the subject index of Encyclopaedia Judaica, Jewish Women in America: A Historical Encyclopedia, or a similar reference work.  (Note: the person you choose need not be an immigrant).

 This paper must be typewritten (either on a typewriter or computer) and must include footnotes or endnotes and you must refer to at least three published or manuscript sources, at least one of them being a book.  Please note: no internet sources will be accepted.  Do not forget to proofread your paper for spelling and grammatical errors.  Important note: use your own language (except, of course, when quoting)--plagiarism is strictly forbidden.

Due Dates:

Thursday, November 9: biographical sources due

Thursday, December 7: biographical papers due