Jewish American Heritage Month
Articles of Interest
State of the Field: New Directions for American Jewish Migration Histories
Jewish Migration Histories in the Present Moment
On April 13, 2017, several hundred local Jewish activists, together with allies from New York's Muslim community and city government, rallied in lower Manhattan for a "seder in the streets." Organized by the group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), the event linked the themes of Passover—the intertwined narratives of Jewish wandering and liberation—to the urgent issues of the present. Displaying pieces of blue fabric to evoke the waves of the Red Sea, protesters marched from City Hall to Foley Square and the federal courthouse. They called on the city to make good on its promise to remain a "sanctuary city" in the face of the Trump administration's increasingly harsh immigration law enforcement. Activists also linked the protection of immigrant residents to local police reform, calling for changes such as an end to "broken windows" policing strategies.2 "Broken windows" policing practices, meaning the aggressive policing of minor infractions, sweep many New Yorkers of color into the criminal justice system, and can wind up funneling undocumented New Yorkers from there into the federal immigration machinery of detention and deportation.3
"The Passionate Few": Youth and Yiddishism in American Jewish Culture, 1964 to Present
In the last two decades, journalists have chronicled a contemporary "Yiddish Revival," focusing in particular on the language's popularity among a subculture of young Jews. But, while the Holocaust and other circumstances threatened Yiddish on a global scale by the mid-twentieth century, youthful pursuits of, in, and for Yiddish are by no means new. Indeed, each American-born generation has produced a group of young activists who continued to produce, perform, and engage with Yiddish language and culture, adapting the ideals of the Yiddishist movement to new cultural, linguistic, and historical conditions. Chronicling this generational project through the lens of the Yiddishist youth movement Yugntrufand the Yiddish-speaking farm that grew out of it, this article demonstrates how Yiddishism has evolved to mirror the needs, desires, and visions of each North American cohort at its helm, taking on new forms through the lived experiences and relationships of its activists.
Signposts: Writing Women into American Jewish History
[...]Gurock drew our attention to another article about Jacob Mordecai’s academy-one published some ninety years later in AJH by Sheldon Hanft.5 Yet neither of these articles qualifies as the journal’s first article on the history of America’s Jewish women. [...]in 1893, in the journal’s very first issue, some two score Jewish women were named. [...]it was one largely disdained by those entering the historical profession as it emerged in the nineteenth century and later by the newly professionalized women historians who followed Lerner into academe.24 This tradition consisted largely of histories of “women worthies”-that is, studies of female queens, warriors, saints, and even villains whose lives were so exceptional that, despite being women, they left their imprint on the historical record.25 Written by amateurs, often as political projects meant to advance women’s education or to advocate for their emancipation, books and pamphlets in this tradition paraded illustrious women from the past on the assumption that “to have the courage to act in the present, women needed to know that they were not alone in history.” Promising that the AJHS was watching the NCJW “with an historical eye,” Straus offered to “reserve the brightest page in our annual records for the noble achievements” of this organization, the first national Jewish woman’s club.34 But it would be fifty years before a snippet of the council’s history made its way into an American Jewish Historical Quarterly (AJHQ) article,35 and well more than another quarter of a century before it received serious consideration.36 When it did, in our journal’s first special issue on “American Jewish Women,” women, with the single exception of Henry Hurwitz’s memoir of his mother, were the ones doing the writing.37 One of the articles in this number, Paula E. Hyman’s “Immigrant Women and Consumer Protest,” prompted Deborah Dash Moore, in the journal’s first “Signposts” feature, to reflect upon how a kosher meat boycott had brought Jewish women’s history into the mainstream.”
Reform Judaism, Reconciliation Romance, and the Civil War: Nathan Mayer's Differences and Nineteenth-Century Reform Jewish American Life.
Then he folded his arms around her, and kissed her sweet brow. "United in love," he said, "notwithstanding former differences." "United forever," she replied. (1)
Thus ends Nathan Mayer's 1867 novel Differences, but it could be the conclusion of any number of reconciliation romances published in nineteenth-century America: lovers, one Northern and one Southern, having been divided by "former differences"--a pleasant way to refer to the Civil War--are finally "united forever," as is, presumably, the nation. It is a standard plot ... but what happens to this popular story line when these American characters are Jewish? When the "differences" of the title are not just about region but also about religion, about the future of Judaism in America? Nathan Mayer's novel, one of the first works of fiction to depict the contemporary lives of American Jews, employs the popular trope of regional reconciliation romance to explore the connections and tensions between American and Jewish identities at the close of the Civil War, a time when citizenship and identity were open questions for many Americans. Mayer criticizes some aspects of the American Jewish community and indeed deploys the standard antisemitic trope of crassly commercial merchants, while also noting that their social shallowness is echoed by that of the surrounding Gentile community. At the same time, Mayer argues that individuals can and must cultivate a deliberate and proud Jewish American identity for themselves and their families, but that this must be a specifically Reform identity, one that cares more for Jewish continuity than theology or ritual. The novel implicitly argues that, if American Jews can think of Judaism as a religion rather than an ethnicity, such that they are open to conversion while still firmly maintaining their Whiteness, then the country can live up to the protagonist's name, "Welland."
The Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary
The mission and purpose of The Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary is to mobilize human and financial resources to support and strengthen our local and global Jewish community, and to meet the shared obligations of our local community to Israel and international Jewry.
Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center
The mission of the Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center is to create the environment of a Jewish neighborhood where Jews of all ages, affiliations, and beliefs can enhance the quality of their lives through educational, recreational, and social experiences.
Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Services
Jewish Family Services (JFS) is dedicated to promoting the well-being of all those in the community who require support and services within a Jewish context.