Hardback
August 17, 2007
9780813124308
English
288
photos, map
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.2 Pounds (US)
$60.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
August 17, 2007
9780813172163
9780813124308
English
288
photos, map
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$60.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Jewish Communities on the Ohio River

A History

When westward expansion began in the early nineteenth century, the Jewish population of the United States was only 2,500. As Jewish immigration surged over the century between 1820 and 1920, Jews began to find homes in the Ohio River Valley. In Jewish Communities on the Ohio River, Amy Hill Shevitz chronicles the settlement and evolution of Jewish communities in small towns on both banks of the river—towns such as East Liverpool and Portsmouth, Ohio, Wheeling, West Virginia, and Madison, Indiana. Though not large, these communities influenced American culture and history by helping to develop the Ohio River Valley while transforming Judaism into an American way of life. The Jewish experience and the regional experience reflected and reinforced each other. Jews shared regional consciousness and pride with their Gentile neighbors. The antebellum Ohio River Valley's identity as a cradle of bourgeois America fit very well with the middle-class aspirations and achievements of German Jewish immigrants in particular. In these small towns, Jewish citizens created networks of businesses and families that were part of a distinctive middle-class culture. As a minority group with a vital role in each community, Ohio Valley Jews fostered religious pluralism as their contributions to local culture, economy, and civic life countered the antisemitic sentiments of the period. Jewish Communities on the Ohio River offers enlightening case studies of the associations between Jewish communities in the big cities of the region, especially Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and the smaller river towns that shared an optimism about the Jewish future in America. Jews in these communities participated enthusiastically in ongoing dialogues concerning religious reform and unity, playing a crucial role in the development of American Judaism. The history of the Ohio River Valley includes the stories of German and East European Jewish immigrants in America, of the emergence of American Reform Judaism and the adaptation of tradition, and of small-town American Jewish culture. While relating specifically to the diversity of the Ohio River Valley, the stories of these towns illustrate themes that are central to the larger experience of Jews in America.

About the Author

Amy Hill Shevitz teaches religious studies at California State University, Northridge.

Reviews

"An engaging regional history with immense national significance. . . . An excellent chronicle of the minority experience in small town America."—Ava F. Kahn, author of Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush

"Far better composed and contextualized than most local histories of smaller Jewish communities now in print, Amy Shevitz's book does a commendable job of detailing local developments in terms of the broader picture of both American Jewish history and Ohio Valley history."—Lee Shai Weissbach, author of Jewish Life in Small-Town America: A History

""This is a thoroughly well-researched look at a microcosm of Jewish life that will enhance any reader's understanding of American Jewish life.""—Ohioana Quarterly

""Shevitz's study provides both corroboration, and corrective, to the standard historiography of American Jewry....Shevitz provides a fascinating glimpse into the nature of small-town Jewish life, and the role Jews played in shaping their world.""—Frederic Krome, Ohio Valley Quarterly

""Shevitz's book superbly places the history of Jewish communities in the Ohio River Valley in multiple, intertwined contexts.""—Journal of Illinois History

""[A] pathbreaking volume. . . The first book to integrate the story of Jews in these many communities into a single coherent narrative.""A highly sophisticated regional study that reflects careful research, wide reading, and innovative ideas. Highly recommended."—J.D. Sarna, CHOICE"—J.D. Sarna, CHOICE

"The reader interested particularly in Jewish life in any of these communities will find informative accounts of local history, lay and religious personalities, economic strategies, religious observance, communal organizations, anti-Semitism, and the social and economic linkages between the communities."—Jack Glazier, Indiana Magazine of History

"This book presents an important study of the significance of the Ohio River region in the making of Jewish middle-class communities in small town America and its impact on the construction of Jewish American identity."—Hadassa Kosak, Journal of American Ethnic History

9780813124308 : jewish-communities-on-the-ohio-river-shevitz
Hardback
288 Pages
$60.00 USD
9780813172163 : jewish-communities-on-the-ohio-river-shevitz
Electronic book text
288 Pages
$60.00 USD

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