NOTE: AJE = American Jewish Experience, ed. by Jonathan D. Sarna
Thurs., Aug. 24
Course Introduction and Overview of Syllabus
Tues., Aug. 29
The First Modern Jews: Jewish Life in the Colonial Period
*Letters of the Franks Family, 1-12.
*Synagogue constitutions, 13-20.
• Based on the letters of Abigail Franks, would you say her overall feelings about America are positive, negative, or mixed? Cite three examples.
• Identify three points of difference between the 1770 constitution of the Philadelphia synagogue and the 1790 constitution of Shearith Israel in New York.
Thurs., Aug. 31
“German” Jewish Immigration: In Search of Economic Survival
*Hasia Diner, “On to America,” in A Time for Gathering, 36-59.
*Memoirs of Jesse Seligman and Henry Seessel, Memoirs of American Jews, 343-352 and 353-367.
• Give two reasons for the wave of Central European Jewish immigration to the U.S. that began around 1820.
• Based on the Seligman and Seessel memoirs, cite two strategies Central European Jews employed to succeed in America.
Tues., Sept. 5
Creating an American Judaism: The Social and Ideological
Contexts of Reform
Michael A. Meyer, “America: The Reform Movement’s Land of Promise,” AJE, 59-81.
*Leon Jick, The Americanization of the Synagogue, 79-96.
The articles by Meyer and Jick both describe how and why the process of religious reform took hold among American Jews during the mid-nineteenth century. What are the major points of difference between their arguments?
Thurs., Sept. 7
The Winding Road to Jewish Denominationalism
*Marc Lee Raphael, “‘Our treasury is empty and our bank account is overdrawn’: Washington Hebrew Congregation, 1855-1872,” in the journal American Jewish History — to access go to this page and select the issue for volume 84, number 2 (June 1996) and you will find the article link in the table of contents.
*“Pittsburgh Platform,” in Meyer, Response to Modernity, 387-388.
Based on Raphael’s description of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, point out three religious practices (or a combination of practices) that make it hard to classify the synagogue as Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative.
Tues., Sept. 12
The Politics of German-Jewish Acculturation
*Naomi W. Cohen, Encounter With Emancipation, 109-114 and 129-139 only (not the entire chapter).
Give at least three examples of how “German” Jews changed their lives in order to fit into American social and cultural patterns.
Thurs., Sept. 14
Social Discrimination and the Call for a “Christian America”
*Excerpts from Michael Selzer, ed., Kike! A Documentary History of Antisemitism in America, 55-62.
Cite at least three claims antisemitic writers made against American Jews in the nineteenth century. For each claim, explain how it emerged from the social and political context of the period.
Tues., Sept. 19
Immigration from Eastern Europe: Background and Structure
Rose Cohen, Out of the Shadow, through p. 207.
Give three reasons for the massive wave of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe that began about 1880. In addition, cite three ways in which this wave of immigration differed from the previous, “German” wave.
Thurs., Sept. 21
NO CLASS – ROSH HASHANAH
Tues., Sept. 26
Americans View the Immigrants
Ida Van Etten, “Russian Jews as Desirable Immigrants.”
Jacob Riis, “The Jews of New York.”
Continue reading Cohen, Out of the Shadow
Do the articles by Riis and Van Etten present a positive or negative portrait of Eastern European Jewish immigrants? Give three examples to back up your argument.
Thurs., Sept. 28
A “World Turned Upside Down”
*A Bintel Brief(Letters to the Jewish Daily Forward), excerpts.
*Hutchins Hapgood, The Spirit of the Ghetto, on the Yiddish theater, 118-135.
Finish Cohen, Out of the Shadow.
Drawing from the readings, give three examples of why immigrants may have seen America as “a world turned upside down.” See if you can add to the list after viewing the movie Hester Street in class on Monday.
Tues., Oct. 3
“Germans,” “Russians” and the Reorientation of Communal Life
Moses Rischin, “Germans versus Russians,” AJE, 136-150.
*Letter from Louis Marshall to Bernard Richards (1916) from Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty, 514-517.
List three criticisms Louis Marshall makes of the proposed American Jewish Congress in his letter to Bernard Richards. What do each of these criticisms say about Marshall’s view of the new Eastern European leadership and their impact on Jewish communal affairs?
Thurs., Oct. 5
Varieties of Jewish Expression and Belief
Dawidowicz, “The Jewishness of the Jewish Labor Movement,” AJE, 183-193.
Urofsky, “Zionism: An American Experience,” AJE, 243-255.
Based on this week’s readings as well as previous readings, list at least six different cultural, religious or political groupings that existed within the American Jewish community by the early twentieth century.
Tues., Oct. 10
NO CLASS – FALL BREAK
Thurs., Oct. 12
IN CLASS FILM – Hester Street
Tues., Oct. 17
MIDTERM EXAM – IN CLASS
Remember to bring a blue book
Thurs., Oct. 19
NO CLASS – Prof. Goldstein away
Tues., Oct. 24
Antisemitism in the Interwar Period
Leo Ribuffo, “Henry Ford and The International Jew,” AJE, 199-216.
*The International Jew, (anti-Semitic primary source, 1921), excerpts, 109-119.
Highlight in your Sarna book (or write in your notebook) the few sentences you consider to be the kernel of Ribuffo’s argument (no more thna 4 sentences). Come to class ready to identify this passage and tell the class whether you agree or disagree with the argument.
Thurs., Oct. 26
Americanizing Jewish Life: The Second Generation
Jeffrey Gurock, “The Emergence of the American Synagogue,” AJE, 219-234.
*Peter Levine, Ellis Island to Ebbets Field, 144-169.
• List three differences between Eastern European immigrant synagogues and the Americanized synagogues described by Gurock.
• Based on Levine’s description of the American Jewish sports culture, point out two ways in which this culture reinforced American identity and two ways in which it reinforced Jewish identity.
Tues., Oct. 31
Jewish Neighborhoods and the Geography of Identity
*Deborah Dash Moore, “A World of its Own,” in At Home in America, 60-87.
*Eli N. Evans, “An Inconsequential Town,” 3-19.
How are the New York neighborhoods described by Moore different from the surroundings in which Eli Evans grew up? To answer this question, draw maps of these two types of neighborhoods, complete with the homes, stores, schools, libraries, houses of worship, and other institutions that might have existed there (be creative!). In drawing your maps, think about how the different geographies of these places shaped the identities of those who lived there. How was being Jewish different in each space?
Thurs., Nov. 2
Cultural Pluralism: Visions and Realities
*Horace M. Kallen, “Democracy versus the Melting Pot” (1915).
*Anonymous, “I Was a Jew” (1941).
Point out at least three differences between the way ethnic group life was envisioned by Horace Kallen and the way it was seen by the author of “I Was a Jew.”
Tues., Nov. 7
World War II and its Aftermath
*Deborah Dash Moore, “On the Threshhold”
*Letter from an American Jewish Soldier in World War II
Cite three major changes experienced by American Jews as a result of World War II. Which of these, do you think, had the most profound effect on American Jewry, and why?
Thurs., Nov. 9
The Holocaust, Israel and American Jewry
Henry Feingold, “Who Shall Bear the Guilt for the Holocaust? The Human Dilemma” AJE, 273-292.
*Moore, “Israel as Frontier” in To The Golden Cities, 227-261.
• After reading Feingold’s article, do you feel American Jews could have done more to help European Jews during the Holocaust? Give at least two examples to back up your view.
• Drawing on Moore’s article, list two examples of how the birth of Israel allowed American Jews to “reimagine” themselves.
Tues., Nov. 14
Religion and Culture on the Suburban Frontier
Samuel C. Heilman, Portrait of American Jews, 8-46.
*Philip Roth, “Eli the Fanatic,” 249-298.
Based on both the Heilman reading and the Roth story, cite two ways in which the 1950s brought positive developments to the Jewish community and two ways in which the decade brought negative developments.
Thurs., Nov. 16
From Classical Liberalism to Ethnic Revival: The 60s and 70s
*Marc Dollinger, Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America, 3-18.
Heilman, Portrait of American Jews, 47-100.
Based on Dollinger’s article, present (very briefly) two possible explanations for the attraction of Jews to liberal politics. Which of the two do you think is a better explanation and why?
Tues., Nov. 21
Denominational Growth and Fragmentation
*Jack Wertheimer, A People Divided, 170-184.
UAHC, “Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism.”
Go to the website of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and read the “Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism” (1999). Give three ways in which these principles echo the sentiments of the Reform Movement’s Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 and three ways in which they contradict the Pittsburgh Platform.
PRIMARY DOCUMENT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE IN CLASS. REMEMBER TO SUBMIT ORIGINAL DOCUMENT WITH EDITED DOCUMENT AND ANALYSIS ESSAY.
Thursday, Nov. 23
NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING BREAK
Tues., Nov. 28
Feminism and the American Jewish Community
*Deborah E. Lipstadt, “Feminism and American Judaism: Looking Back at the Turn of the Century,” in Women and American Judaism, 291-304.
*Ellen Umansky, “Reclaiming the Covenant,” 230-234.
Give at least three examples of how feminism has changed American Judaism.
Thurs., Nov. 30
Intermarriage and the Culture of Survival
Heilman, Portrait of American Jews, 101-164.
Lisa Schiffman, Generation J, 1-30.
Schiffman speaks of a “revolution” in Jewish identity that is creating new forms of Judaism that do not require marriage within the group in order to survive. Drawing on either Schiffman’s book or your own observations, give at least three examples of these new forms.
TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAM DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS
Tues., Dec. 5
Multiculturalism and the Jews
*Lerner and West, “Cultural Identity and Whiteness,” 62-79.
Based on the Lerner-West conversation and your own observations, do you think Jews are best described as “insiders” or “outsiders” in American culture? Give at least three reasons to back up your claim.
Thurs. Dec. 14
TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAMS must be submitted electronically to my email, egoldst [at] emory [dot] edu, by midnight on this date. No late papers will be accepted. Download the take-home exam HERE.