Jewish Life in Small-Town America : A History

Format: Trade Book
Pub. Date: 2005-05-11
Publisher(s): Yale University Press
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In this book, Lee Shai Weissbach offers the first comprehensive portrait of small-town Jewish life in America. Exploring the history of communities of 100 to 1000 Jews, the book focuses on the years from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II. Weissbach examines the dynamics of 490 communities across the United States and reveals that smaller Jewish centers were not simply miniature versions of larger communities but were instead alternative kinds of communities in many respects. The book investigates topics ranging from migration patterns to occupational choices, from Jewish education and marriage strategies to congregational organization. The story of smaller Jewish communities attests to the richness and complexity of American Jewish history and also serves to remind us of the diversity of small-town society in times past.

Author Biography

Lee Shai Weissbach is professor of history at the University of Louisville.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Searching for Patterns 1(219)
1 Patterns of Evidence: Identifying Small Communities
2 Patterns of Settlement: The Early Years
3 Patterns of Settlement: The Era of Mass Migration
4 Patterns of Stability and Mobility
5 Patterns of Livelihood and Class
6 Patterns of Family Life
7 Patterns of Congregational Organization
8 Patterns of Synagogue History
9 Patterns of Religious Leadership
10 Patterns of Culture: The German Jews 220(23)
11 Patterns of Culture: The East Europeans 243(28)
12 Patterns of Prejudice and of Transformation 271(24)
Epilogue: Patterns of Endurance and Decline 295(20)
Reading the Manuscript Census 315(10)
Bibliographic Essay 325(12)
Appendix of Tables 337(22)
Notes 359(66)
Index 425

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