Fred Rosenbaum’s Cosmopolitans is a wonderful, extremely well researched resource, covering the cultural, economic, and political history of the Bay Area’s Jews from the first settlers during Gold Rush through World War II, with an epilogue that quickly describes recent events.
But it reads like an adventure. Everyone is here; Levi Strauss, Gertrude Stein, Yehudi Menuhin, artists, musicians, politicians, religious figures. Will the good guys win against the crooked office holders? Will the different segments of the Jewish community be able to work together in the face of each local and international crisis? Even in the beginning, there were at least two synagogues. Follow through the years, as the philosophy changes, splinters, and proliferates. Charming antique photographs put faces to the names and buildings.
The Jews of the Bay Area, almost from their earliest days, were high profile leaders and innovators, active in local and national politics; patrons of the arts, champions of civil rights, workers, and women. Not surprisingly, in 1992, the California electorate sent to the United States Senate two Jewish women, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who have proved their worth many times over. Index, notes.