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New Perspectives in American Jewish History

A Documentary Tribute to Jonathan D. Sarna

Edited by Mark A. Raider and Gary Phillip Zola

Widely regarded as today’s foremost American Jewish historian, Jonathan D. Sarna has had a huge impact on the academy. Sarna’s influence is perhaps nowhere more apparent than among his former doctoral students—a veritable “Sarna diaspora” of over three dozen active scholars around the world. Both a tribute to Sarna and an important collection in its own right, New Perspectives in American Jewish History was compiled by Sarna’s former students and presents previously unpublished, neglected, or rarely seen historical documents and images that illuminate the breadth, diversity, and dynamism of the American Jewish experience. Beginning with the earliest known Jewish divorce in circum-Atlantic history (1774) and concluding with a Black Lives Matter Haggadah supplement (2019), the collection travels across time and space to shed light on intriguing and generative moments that span the varieties of Jewish experience in the American setting from the colonial era to the present. The materials underscore the interrelationship of myriad themes including ritual observance, Jewish-Christian relations, civil rights, Zionism and Israel, and immigration. While not intended as a comprehensive treatment of American Jewish history, the collection offers a chronological road map of American Jewry’s evolving self-understanding and encounter with America over the course of four centuries. A brief prefatory note sets up the analytic context of each document and helps to unpack and explore its significance. The capacious and multifaceted quality of the American Jewish experience is further amplified here by a sampling of artistic texts such as photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and more.

Paper: $40 | Cloth: $95 | E-book: $34.95
ISBN-13: 9781684580538
Pages: 504 | Size: 6.125 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: January 3, 2022
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This remarkably insightful, deeply researched, and extremely illuminating collection of superbly edited documents is a fitting tribute to Jonathan Sarna, himself a fountain of insight, a master of research, and the greatest living historian of American Jewish history.

Mark Noll
Author of America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911

Reviews

  • This fascinating collection of hitherto neglected and hidden documents, elegantly introduced and annotated by Jonathan Sarna’s students, stands as a stellar tribute to their teacher. Over the course of his outstanding career, Prof. Sarna, uncovering new sources, boldly reinterpreted the American Jewish past. Mark Raider and Gary Zola and the other scholars and Jewish communal leaders contributing to this volume have proudly followed in their teacher’s footsteps.

    Pamela S. Nadell
    author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (2019)
  • This remarkably insightful, deeply researched, and extremely illuminating collection of superbly edited documents is a fitting tribute to Jonathan Sarna, himself a fountain of insight, a master of research, and the greatest living historian of American Jewish history.

    Mark Noll
    author of America's Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911 (2022)
  • ...a multidimensional presentation and a fresh resource to explore American Jewish history.

    Tradition
  • This book is a wonderful resource for anyone wishing insight into the development of Jewish life in the United States and an essential tool for any class concerning American Jewish history.

    New Books Network

About the Author

Mark A. Raider

Mark A. Raider is Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of History (College of Arts & Sciences) and Director of the Center for Studies in Jewish Education and Culture (College of Education). He is past President of the University’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning. He serves as Visiting Professor of American Jewish History at the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Dr. Raider earned his BA at the University of California, …

Gary Phillip Zola

Gary Phillip Zola is the executive director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience and Reform Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently he is coeditor of American Jewish History: A Primary Source Reader, also published by Brandeis University Press.

Table Of Contents

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