Jew­ish Roots in South­ern Soil: A New History

Mar­cie Cohen Fer­ris and Mark I. Green­berg, eds.
  • Review
By – October 26, 2011

To the aver­age read­er of Amer­i­can Jew­ish his­to­ry, it would seem that Jews only lived and worked in the New York area. Actu­al­ly, Jews have had a dis­tin­guished his­to­ry in the south since the 17th cen­tu­ry. Up until the 1820’s, more Jews lived in Charleston, South Car­oli­na, than in New York City! Two of the nation’s ear­li­est and most impor­tant Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions were found­ed in Savan­nah, Geor­gia in 1773 and Charleston in 1749. This Jew­ish his­to­ry, plus more, is found in Jew­ish Roots in South­ern Soil: A New His­to­ry, edit­ed by Mar­cie Cohen Fer­ris and Mark I. Green­berg. The anthol­o­gy pro­vides thir­teen fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cles on a vari­ety of top­ics includ­ing south­ern Jew­ish women writ­ers, African Amer­i­can-Jew­ish rela­tions, Jew­ish ped­dlers, Jew­ish Con­fed­er­ates, and the blos­som­ing of Reform Judaism in the region. The book will delight eru­dite schol­ars and snow­birds” who go south” to escape the cold weath­er and would like to learn how Jews shaped the region.

Mar­cia Cohen Fer­ris is the asso­ciate direc­tor of the Car­oli­na Cen­ter for Jew­ish Stud­ies and assis­tant pro­fes­sor of Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill. Mark I. Green­berg is direc­tor of the Flori­da Stud­ies Cen­ter and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Flori­da. Index, notes, select­ed bibliography.

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.

Discussion Questions