The photographs and archival material trace the history of the Jewish presence from the earliest Jewish settlements to contemporary times. Synagogues, religious items, ritual practices, old and new, are beautifully shown in archival photographs, illustrations, and drawings. However, the reader must be forewarned that the book’s title is misleading. It is not a photographic study of all streams of Jewish observance in America. Photographs and archival material about Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist synagogues and leaders are noticeably absent from the local history and photographs presented by Landa. The book emphasizes the role of traditional or Orthodox Jewish practices, (both Ashkenazim and Sephardic) in the communities he visits. Nonetheless, the book is beautifully done and well worth reading. It is an informative travel and history guide that reveals an important dimension in the development of American Jewish city life.
A Timeless People: Photo Album of American Jewish Life
In his lovingly prepared book, A Timeless People: Photo Album of American Jewish Life, Saul Landa presents a photographic paean to the vitality and richness of traditional American Jewish life. It is the story of his four year journey of over tens of thousands of miles to photograph and compile the sociocultural history of observant Jewish communities in eighteen major cities of the American Northeast, South, Midwest, and the West.
Carol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sciences Department and Professor of Sociology at the Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York. Her areas of interest include the sociology of race and ethnic relations, the sociology of marriage, family and gender roles and the sociology of Jews.
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